How Suite: Celebs Get a Jump Start on Valentine’s Day

Not even torrential rain can keep celebrities from a good party, especially when there's an abundance of food, drink, and free gifts. Maria Conchita Alonso and Lauren Velez were among those who braved the downpour to attend the second annual Valentine Romance Sneak Peek Oscar Suite at Café La Boheme in West Hollywood and get showered with goodies to give as gifts or keep for themselves. There was a giving back element too: guests were asked to bring new or slightly worn footwear to donate to Shoes For Africa via

"You never know what to expect at places like this," said Alonso, who was walking with a cane and a cast on her right foot, having tripped and broken her ankle six weeks ago. Eager to pick up anti-aging skin care products from Skinn (used by Eva LaRue and Mario Lopez) and CellCeuticals (Gloria Estefan’s a fan), she told us she’s developing her own skin care and fragrance line with a Japanese company, and getting ready to stage a musical comeback—she’s recording a new CD and will perform before a crowd of 17,000 in Guadalajara, Mexico on March 6.

Her Valentine's Day plans involve her boyfriend and his ten-year old son. "This is the weekend for him to have his kid, but I don’t mind at all. He’s a great kid. But maybe we’ll send him to his brother for a few hours," she said with a laugh.

Velez, who attended with "mi papi chulo" James Manos, was looking forward to spending the holiday with him—and enjoying the new apartment she bought in New York before returning to the Dexter set in May. Her favorite items? FreeBeneath’s cozy pullover robes and loungewear and a ring from Rocks jewelry made of colored stones set in concrete. 

Celebs could also snag dressy shoes and clutches from the Spanish line Menbur, and trendier footwear from Shiekh, sponsor of the annual Miss Latina California pageant. Many placed orders for embellished dresses from Scala, chose shades of Dazzle Dry nail polish, which promises a five-minute smudge-proof manicure, picked out calendar keepsakes from Not Just Any Old Day, and sniffed the scents of Herban natural and organic bath products. We heard that Jessica Alba, who’s partial to lavender, received a lavender bath milk gift set from Herban after daughter Honor was born. "It's all organic so breast feeding moms don’t have to worry about any chemicals," a company rep told

But it was a cool torso-toning gadget called MySpinGym that may have been the best freebie of all. With less than a month to go before the Academy Awards, stars planning to show off bare arms, backs and shoulders on the red carpet need to get those muscles in shape!