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Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel Invades Fort Lauderdale

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits' Fort Lauderdale location opened its doors for a "Bethenny Frankel SkinnyGirl Margarita bottle signing" over the weekend. The beverage itself is strong in alcohol content but definitely needs some lemonade to balance out the sweetness -- much like our hostess?

Although 200-plus people RSVP'd to the Facebook invite, I didn't really expect that many to actually show to see Bethenny of Real Housewives of New York City fame. The 20 minutes it took to find a parking

spot suggested I was wrong, way wrong.

As I walked up to the

store, two 30-something women with larger-than-life smiles strolled past.


really feel different after meeting her," said one girl. Judging by her freshly blown-out hair and fully done-up face, she must have

spent the afternoon getting ready for her 30-second photo opp with the

reality star.

"I know what you mean -- she's really inspiring,"

replied her sidekick, who carried a purse-sized dog.

Inside the liquor store, hundreds of women, aged teen to cougar, wrapped around the aisles of bottles in outfits suggesting they were on their way to a red-carpet event. Dressed all in red, Frankel sat like the Queen of Hearts surrounded by her signature margarita

bottles and wide-eyed fans awaiting their moment. Behind her "throne" was a giant cardboard cutout of herself and signage for the product. Seeing a television personality up-close is always

captivating -- especially when they've had so much face work done. I spotted two friends already in line, so I grabbed a bottle of the $12.99 margarita and joined the throng of reality-television addicts.   

"She better sign all my crap," demanded the blond,

curly haired woman carrying two bottles, a book, and a handful of gossip


Her boyfriend rolled his eyes and said, "I'm going to find

out if I can purchase a six-pack so I don't lose my sanity." He grabbed her butt and whispered in her ear, "You also owe

me really big later, if you know what I mean."

Loud laughter burst out from a group of women in the next aisle. "Can't get through this thing sober," a 50-something woman said while cracking open a pink Bartles and Jaymes. 

Meanwhile, a brunet in a pair of too-tight rhinestone jeans and pink crop top embodying Britney Spears' cowboy-hat era had

the contents of her purse sprawled all over the floor near the front door. The large

security guard stood over her holding two liquor bottles. Her sons, both appearing to be about 13 years old, groaned and walked outside with their skateboards.

"Man, I swear I paid for these. The receipt must be in here somewhere," she exclaimed. The employees didn't seem convinced, and she went on her way, leaving the bottles behind.

Finally, our moment with the reality queen had arrived.

"Let me have your cameras, and make it quick," said her infamous assistant Julie while hobbling toward us in way-too-big, beige, patent-leather Louboutin heels.

We huddled behind Bethenny and smiled as all the flashes went off. I overheard my friend mutter something about homeless people wearing Herve Leger dresses in Bethenny's ear.

"Hold on!" she shouted. "Did you hear what he just said?" Bethenny erupted into laughter  turning around to gossip like we were old friends. I didn't get the reference but smiled as the anxious women in line grunted at us.

The moment was over before I could blink an eye, but I did learn an important lesson: Staying sober wasn't the way to go.