Friday morning I arrived at JFK airport just after 5am for a 6:30am flight to Puerto Rico (so of course, I never went to sleep). On the bright side (90 degrees bright), I was poolside at the El San Juan Hotel & Casino by noon and managed an hour to relax and revive by the quiet pool before jumping into a ‘party weekend’ that included late nights at the Brava nightclub and all-day beach parties hosted by Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum from nightclub tenjune in NYC. 

I’ve now been here about 36 hours and the minutes have been nearly as debaucherous as the state of my suitcase (see photo) – well, for some more than others (although I still have another night to catch up).

After a multi-course dinner and free-flowing wine at the Palm restaurant in the hotel Shimmy, the owner of Brava, escorted us over to the nightclub where I was in awe by the attention host Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo received when they arrived. The couple and friends had a round booth table at one end of the club and as soon as they sat, or stood on the booths that looked out onto the dancefloor, the sea of people in the packed venue all turned their attention to the group and began snapping photos. Seriously, sitting at the table next to theirs, I was amazed. I’ve been doing this a long time but was shocked by the rapt attention their mere presence received. If I didn’t know better I would have thought they were about to put on a performance and the crowd was waiting for the show to begin.

But, the only show that night was when Mark Birnbaum got on the mic with a ‘Yo, yo, yo’ before introducing Salt and Pepa.

When I started to wane on the club and couldn’t stomach another glass of champagne I headed to the casino where I played a little craps, lost at blackjack and won back some money playing roulette with America’s Next Top Model winner Caridee English with dad’s advice – play 22 straight up every time. When I decided to call it a night at about 3am, down $20 with a single $100 chip left, I started to make my way out of the casino and to my room when I passed Mark playing at a $100/hand blackjack table with Nick Lachey and Nick’s bodyguard TJ. I walked by – and tossing my chip in my fingers – walked back. I played my $100 and won, doubling my money. I managed to play for about 20 minutes before I lost the $100. Going into tonight I’m down $120, but since I often spend more on less entertaining evenings, I’d say so far this weekend I’m winning.

Stay tuned for Puerto Rico: Part Dos tomorrow. Hasta la vista…

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