One Ticket to Paradise

March 19, 2013 by Kari Karch

The beginning of March couldn’t come soon enough. For the last five months I have been anticipating the most epic trip of a lifetime with the most amazing group of friends I know. We all had our tickets to St. John and were counting down the minutes until we had our toes in the sand a drink in my hand (yes that is a Zac Brown reference for all you country music fans.) Seeing that Chicago was under a blanket of snow and having to go to the airport dressed like an Eskimo, only made the six hour flight that more exciting as I brought a change of clothes to slip into on the plane knowing the weather was a clear and sunny 82 degrees. Paradise…I have arrived.

My friends and I rented the most beautiful villa in St. John overlooking Fish Bay with a gorgeous infinity pool and get this..outdoor showers! It didn’t really hit me that I was in this tranquil atmosphere with the sunshine glistening on me until I jumped in the outdoor shower to rinse of the snow and soot. The next 11 days were going to be good. Real good.

There were seven of us on this trip, old friends catching up, new parents in need of a break, and new friends enjoying ones company. We fit like peanut butter and jelly. Which is one of the best recipes for a great time in the Islands. Each day in paradise was an adventure in boating, hiking, discovering new cultures, and dining at local restaurants with delicious food. Pinch me please!

It truly amazes me that there is so much beauty in this world and so little people get to experience it because they always feel work is the most important priority in life. I feel so blessed that I’m able to have an amazing job that I can sneak away to a beautiful island in the sun with friends who made this trip so worth it. It’s about the memories created, the times cherished drinking Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar Bar with our newest family member, Uncle Bob (who by the way has a striking personality of one Captain Ron,) and times where we all just sat back and took a look around and said to one another “this place is a dump.” Yes, it was the sarcastic joke of the trip seeing that there was only beauty and solace in these parts. I will forever be grateful to have been part of such a wonderful vacation and cannot wait to see St. John, St. Thomas, and all the magnificent islands of the Caribbean in the near future.

I want to say a special thank you to Maggie, Dorian, Lindsey, Justin, Michael, Mark, Uncle Bob, Aunt Diane, Sean and Shawna, Barb, the crew of Bad Kitty, and anyone else I might of forgot. Thank you for making my trip unforgettable! Cheers!

To see more amazing photos from our trip follow me on Twitter @Chitownchef.

Check out these links to some of the most talented peeps I know and if you have an itch to stay in St. Thomas, then you must stay with Uncle Bob and Aunt Diane in their getaway suite!

Maggie Stolzberg Photography on Facebook, Seaglass Studios on Facebook, and


Happy eating!

Kari Karch

Kari Karch is a 19-year veteran of the culinary industry, creator of Kiss the Cook, and the head chef and spokesperson for the Kenmore brand. She has made many notable appearances on ABC Morning News, on WGN, on the Cooking Channel and as a judge for the World Food Championships.