Hi and welcome to my online home! I am a photographer located in Phoenix, Arizona. I'm married to my wonderful hubby, Jon, and we have 7 fur babies: Kitty Amazing, Baby Kitty, Petunia, and China, our cats, Hank and Seymour, our dogs, and Junichiro, our hedgehog. Admittedly, Junichiro is more of a spiky baby than a fur baby. I love travel, nutella, donuts, cupcakes, (okay just bring me all the carbs alright?), reading, green tea, soccer, dancing, and soft pillow cases. I love having you, I hope you stay awhile.
I did a thing. A crazy thing. A thing you will probably all judge me for while inwardly wishing you were me (and that’s okay, I forgive you in advance!). You want to know what that thing was? I went on a cruise with the Backstreet Boys.
Yes you heard me right. Me and 1,500 of my closest friends got on a tiny Carnival cruise ship and hung out with Nick, Howie, Kevin, Brian, and AJ for 5 DAYS.
Here’s how it happened: My dear friend, Siobhan, who pretty much does all the things with me, and I learned a year and a half ago that the Backstreet Boys were going to be in Vegas at Planet Hollywood for 3 months. Now, although the Backstreet Boys were basically a serious part of my entire adolesence, I have never seen them live. So I figured, great, now I’m 29, and I can afford to live out my childhood dreams. This led to Siobhan and I heading to Vegas to see them the month they opened. And guys, it was SO GOOD. I know a lot of you out there are haters. But the Backstreet Boys really have extraordinary voices even without music. And I was feeling all the nostalgia. I think all of us there felt like teenagers again (even though we very clearly weren’t LOL).
After this event, the Backstreet Boys announced they would be doing a Caribean Cruise in 2018. Apparently, they do this every 2 years, but I had never heard of it before. I’ll be honest people, I laughed out loud when I first heard this. And I said to Siobhan something like “that is the dumbest thing ever- who would do that?” and we laughed and laughed. Okay so one week later, Siobhan’s friend from New York called her and announced that she had done something. She and her other friend had signed up for the cruise. And because of this Siobhan and I needed to book out tickets as well. And so we did.
I wish it was more drawn out than that honestly. We made fun of it and then a week later we signed up for it because #Backstreet Boys and #Turks and Caicos.
So that’s how I ended up on this ridiculous and amazing and crazy cruise with the Backstreet Boys. I’m going to break it down day by day for you because I have about a bazillion pictures to share. So if you read this all the way to the end you either really love BSB or you are a dear friend to me. I love you in advance.
Siobhan and I got to Miami a day early because the flights were all stupid red eyes. So we figured we’d lay on the beach and eat my favorite food in the world: Cuban food. Ropa Vieja, tostones, maduros… YASSSSS get in my belly.
It was crazy windy, hot, humid, and we were so tired we were in that almost murderous stage (since our flight landed at 7 am). So we slept on the beach all day. And got SO burned. You know, just trying to get that base burn everyone is always talking about. HA.
We stayed at the Stanton JW Marriott in Miami Beach and I definitely recommend it. The beds were sooo soft, I’m kind of missing it.
South Beach is a weird place. I expected something… fancier? I don’t know. I feel like people talk about it non stop as this glamorous place. Sorry Miami.. was kind of disappointed. And my hair was gigantic so that didn’t help the feeling. But the people watching was on. point.
We boarded the cruise at noon. I was trying to take pictures from the car because #photographerlife, so our Uber driver pulled over so I could get some shots. God bless you man.
When we got on the cruise, the first thing was a deck party while we pulled out of harbor that BSB was going to attend. There were so. many. people. I was pretty overwhelmed. So I did what all weirdos with a camera do and went around taking pictures. But I’m pretty sure everyone thought I worked for the Backstreet Boys, so people were asking me to take pictures of them, posing, and allowing me through huge crowds to get closer to the guys. I definitely milked that for all it’s worth. LOL And I’m available BSB for future gigs, just give me a ring! 😉
During the cast off party, Brian came and stood right next to me and Siobhan. Like right in my business. And I forgot to mention…. BSB was dressed as pirates. And I think Brian got a spray tan for the outfit. But it was awesome. Then later, as we walked to catch up with our friends Gaetana and Despina, AJ was up there taking selfies with them hanging out. Later, Siobhan was taking a selfie with AJ and he had to show her how to take the picture because technology is not her friend.
This was an at sea day as we headed to Turks and Caicos. BSB put on a Double Dare game show for my group during the day. And the cutest lady at our table got chosen to participate. She was from Alabama and she knew every obscure fact on the planet. Nick Carter was so stoked she was on his team because you can tell her really hates losing… And she was literally the only person on the team who knew any of the answers LOL. They still lost, but she fought valiantly! I saw Kevin and Nick twerk it for about two minutes straight and I think that’s where I’ll leave it.
Every night of the cruise, BSB put on a deck party that they didn’t bother to appear to until midnight. Now, anyone that knows me knows that I’m in bed with my book and green tea by 10:00 p.m. So Siobhan looked sternly at me the first day and told me I’d be napping after dinner to survive this cruise.
The theme of the first party was Comicon (I think…). Either way, Siobhan planned our outfits and we were the Ninja Turtles. And we were damn cute turtles if I may say so myself. I also stayed up until 2:30 a.m. Just saying…
We were at sea all day today too. And it started to get really rough. Like huge waves rough. And since our cabin was down in the bowels of the ship, we felt it real good. By bowels of the ship, I mean the third class cabins in Titanic where all the immigrants died. So as I gazed out our tiny baby portholes, I was a tiny bit concerned.
Apparently, the Backstreet Boys were concerned too because they made a huge announcement. We were supposed to go to Turks and Caicos as I already stated. It was on 50 thousand banners on the ship, and written on all the apparel they were selling. But it was storming there pretty badly, so we pulled an about face and headed to the Bahamas. Guess someone needs to get to fixing all those shirts….
That day, BSB put on a concert for my group and it was really incredible because they didn’t just play their really popular stuff. They played music they haven’t released and obscure songs that only us real fans knew. And can I say again that they are really talented. Their voices really have gotten better with age. Le sigh.
That night there was another party. And I can’t even remember the theme. I think it was high school because I remember seeing a lot of people dressed as school girls. And I saw a lot of ass cheeks that night due to the wind from the storm. I mean A LOT. Many girls were also dressed similarly to prostitutes. So I guess that was what they were in high school? I was pretty confused.
Annnddd I didn’t take any pictures this day because my introverted side was kicking into over drive.
Day 5: I’m pretty sure this is the day we stopped in the Bahamas. I don’t know all the days are blurring together at this point LOL. I know I missed a deck party at some point in here as I opted to read instead. In fact, I was reading in what was apparently the VIP section and security kicked me out. When I told him I was just trying to find a damn place to read he looked at me with such pity.
Okay so the Bahamas. We stopped in Nassau, which is tiny and beautiful. It’s pretty flat with mostly tourist driving it’s industry. Our taxi driver took us to Cabbage Beach where people literally fought over our business.
We ended up rending 4 beach chairs right in front of the ocean. Well, another beach chair guy was mad his friend stole what he believed was his business, so he put 4 beach chairs directly in front of us. Then, he tried to up sell us on ocean front chairs! Gaetana and Des are from New York so they sent that guy packing.
Other than that the beach was beautiful with tourists and locals alike swimming. You could literally get someone to sell you anything on the planet on that beach. If you were like, I’d love a steak dinner, boom they’d make it happen. They were carrying around beautiful pina coladas made in real coconuts and pineapples. And Des decided to get some braids like a real Caribbean. Siobhan and I took lots of naps, which we desperately needed at this point. We also found Wi-Fi, which was so glorious. I hate to say it, but it was. #sorrynotsorry
I probably skipped a day in here somewhere, but this cruise got real crazy. Not for me.. but for everyone else. These BSB fans will straight up attack you to get close to these guys. And I’m just not about that life. So I had fun hanging back and trying to just enjoy the moment.
We always knew when one of them was nearby because you’d see a swarm of people run by. And one night, when Brian was dressed as the Joker, at one point we saw 4 Harley Quinns chasing him. So hilarious.
Today we got our group photo with all the guys. I was so excited and nervous, and so many other emotions. You know it’s like you watch these people on TV for so long and then they are in front of you like real people. It’s surreal. And the first thing I noticed as we got up to them? They were COVERED in other girls makeup. Insert barf face here. But all the guys were so nice. They all hugged us. Kevin kissed my cheek. Howie winked at me. I got to put my arm around Nick. I think Siobhan offended Brian because there were only 4 of us and 5 of them so Brian didn’t have someone to stand next to. And when he asked if Siobhan was going to move down she told him she wanted to stand next to Howie and Kevin LOL Sorry Brian… (later in the day Siobhan got called up on stage with Brian and his wife, LeAnn, and he seemed to have forgiven her).
Ignore the fact that Siobhan and I are totally accidentally twinning.
So to get that picture took us waiting in line for 2 HOURS. We played 21 questions the entire time, and many people in line joined in because we could not figure out the things Des kept choosing. Once she chose “Tye Dye.” Another time, she chose “high chair.” WTF! That alone took us an hour to figure out.
That night was our last deck party, so I took a three hour nap to prepare myself. I think this night was 90s themed.
And it was my favorite costume night because……. BSB dressed up as the SPICE GIRLS! Complete with 7 inch platform heals and body suits. Nick really got into his baby spice costume. And actually, since you asked, I am the owner of the scrunchie Nick Carter was wearing with his Baby Spice costume! He even signed it!! To be fair, Siobhan caught it, but being the best friend that she is and knowing my love for Nick, she let me keep it. Thanks Nick (and Siobhan!).
Later that night, we were all front row so we got our group selfie with Kevin, and repeatedly sprayed with both water and probably, vodka, by Howie and Nick. It was insanity. I’m pretty sure Howie was smashed the entire cruise. So I apologize for these I-Phone photos because I was not going to let them spray vodka on my Canon 5d Mark III.
I definitely left out some details. But there was a lot of amazingness to cover. It was everything I expected and hoped for, AND I survived to blog about it. At some point, I’m pretty sure I started talking in a New York accent. Thankful for such wonderful friends to take such crazy ass adventures with me.