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Stephanie Hayes, Times Features Editor

Stephanie Hayes

Stephanie Hayes is the features editor for the Tampa Bay Times, directing features coverage and the Times' staff of critics. Previously, she was arts and entertainment editor, and before that, performing arts critic, covering plays, musicals, classical music, dance, comedy and more. She also blogs about fashion for the Times' style blog, Deal Divas. She started writing for the Times in 2003, covering everything from suburban politics to zoning to snack foods to Britney Spears. She wrote the Times' feature obituary column, Epilogue, and went on to work as a general assignment reporter, entertainment reporter and higher education reporter. She grew up near Cleveland and graduated from St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida.

Phone: (727) 893-8716


Twitter: @StephHayes

Blog: Deal Divas

  1. Here's what you need to know before you buy that Groupon vacation deal


    There are times in life that call for caution, for using that chunk of money in savings to renovate the bathroom because the bathroom is from 1974, and not in a cool way.

    But then, there are times Groupon comes along.

    A few years back, it happened to me most notably right after a bad breakup. A trip to Paris and Rome, including hotel and airfare, breakfasts and rides to the airport, appeared in my in-box. It was $1,500 for all. A stock photo of the Eiffel Tower danced off the screen. Buy it now, a voice said, a voice wearing a beret. Ask questions later. I enlisted a friend and we clicked oui, oui....

    ALI DOUGLASS   |   Special to the Times
  2. From podcasts to singing, finding small joys in commuting Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    There are some things to get out of the way. Before you finish the wine, you have to do dealbreakers. I killed a man in Cincy. I collect clown socks. I have a lower back Gwar tattoo.

    For this conversation, here's what needs getting out of the way:

    Commuting is mostly terrible.

    I drive 25 miles each way, five days a week, from home in Dunedin to work in downtown St. Petersburg. There are many reasons, but it boils down to this: I love my home and my job. There is road between us. ...

  3. How to pack for a beach day with your sanity intact


    Did you know we're already having unheard of heat?

    Forecasters predicted highs would reach record levels all week. Thursday, the temperature is expected to crawl past the previous record and hit at least 94.

    So, just for you, food critic Laura Reiley has rounded up some delicious yet adventurous ways to cool off. For this guide to chillaxing, she looked outside the cone and into Tampa Bay's alterna-treats, from Thai rolled ice cream to Hawaiian shave ice....

  4. Ways to celebrate more than just mom this Mother's Day


    For many people, Mother's Day brings out the very best. Families pig out at brunch, enjoy breakfast in bed, post some lovely new springtime Facebook pictures.

    For others, those who don't have traditional mothers around, or those without children, the holiday experience can range from awkward to painful. In this issue, you'll find suggestions for ways to take all kinds of moms on the town, whether to a local attraction offering free admission or ....

  5. Helpful conversation starters about the McDonald's frork and more


    You're going to want to know what a "frork" is.

    As with its distant inexplicable cousin, the Unicorn Frappuccino, you'll need information for discussions over margaritas on Cinco de Mayo this weekend. (Click here for events!) You'll need it when you're waiting for curtain up at the theater, making small talk with your date. You'll need it when you run out of things to critique after you see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2....

    Sponge up your sauce with fork prongs made of fries, a “frork.”
  6. For the 30th anniversary of 'Spaceballs', 5 more epic parodies to watch


    The scene made much more sense when I finally saw Alien.

    I'm talking about Spaceballs, the part in which a small space creature rips through John Hurt's chest and starts singing, "Hello, my baby, hello, my honey, hello, my ragtime gal."

    I've since seen Alien and just about every movie referenced in Mel Brooks' epic parody of Star Wars, but even without that helpful context, Spaceballs stands on its own. A good parody can do that....

    Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) salutes his unscrupulous leader, President Skroob (Mel Brooks), in "Spaceballs."
  7. Let Claire Danes read you 'The Handmaid's' Tale' on audiobook


    The joy and the plight of any audiobook lies in the narrator.

    I commute and listen to many audiobooks on Amazon's Audible app. Most books are pretty digestible, but the complexity of written dialogue can trip up a single reader, causing all nature of vocal sins. Too forceful. Too cutesy. Too many clumsy, clunky caricatures. A lack of synergy with the material you can't really define.

    And then, there's the rare audiobook that achieves total tonal pow. I felt those vibes for The Handmaid's Tale audiobook, first released in 2012, given the Audie Award for fiction in 2013. Claire Danes is our narrator, Offred, the Handmaid imprisoned as an incubator in a misogynistic dystopia. There's no mistaking Danes' throaty, movie star voice, but you forget you're listening to the star of Homeland....

    Actor Claire Danes is the voice of narrator Offred in the award-winning audiobook.
  8. In honor of American Stage's 'Hairspray,' 5 shows with the biggest hair


    What's that smell?

    That's the smell of big hair, baby. Slightly tinny, slightly chemical, somehow soothing to the soul. That's hairspray for you. And that's Hairspray for you.

    American Stage in the Park is back for another year of picnic entertainment at Demen's Landing Park in St. Petersburg, this time welcoming us to 1960s Baltimore. Our photographer Eve Edelheit had a great time on set snapping shots of the cast in giant bouffant and beehive wigs, a signature of the show. Peep the pics....

    Brandy Grant, from left, Perri Gaffney, Fanni Green, Whitney Drake, Tia Jemison, and Erica Sutherlin in American Stage’s Steel Magnolias, a production where a beauty salon figured prominently. [Photo by Chad Jacobs (2014)]
  9. It's heating up. Here are some ways to keep cool at outdoor events.


    We all felt it last weekend.

    That final cool chill, that last crisp night breeze of the season. Right around the corner, it will be time to sweat, to squirm with discomfort in the summer sun and suck it up in the pursuit of outdoor entertainment. Because in Florida, that's what we do.

    Here, you'll find our Summer Concert Preview courtesy of pop music/culture critic Jay Cridlin. He dug up 52 must-see shows coming to Tampa Bay, from the Chainsmokers to Ed Sheeran to Chance the Rapper to Neil Diamond to U2. The concerts are spread between indoor and outdoor locations. But you can count on being outside for beach days and signature local picnic basket events, like American Stage in the Park. This year's production is Hairspray! ...

    Charlie Crist examines a portable hand fan given to him before he voted early in St. Petersburg in 2014.  "It's nice to be cool." said Crist. SCOTT KEELER   |   TIMES
  10. Master Class: What to wear to the opera


    Look around next time you're at the opera.

    It might be this weekend when you see Tosca with Opera Tampa at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. It might be in June, when The Tales of Hoffmann opens with St. Petersburg Opera at the Palladium Theater.

    You'll see all nature of dress, everything from flip-flops and khakis to gowns, tuxedos and opera glasses. You'll see gloves and polos, little black dresses and big Hawaiian shirts. What's right? What's wrong?...

    Days past, the opera was a very formal affair. Hope Hampton notably dragged a $25,000 chinchilla coat across the lobby of New York’s Metropolitan Opera House for the opening night of Aida in 1963.
  11. A is for April's finests


    Spring break is over. The kids are back in school, counting the days until a glorious summer reprieve. But we're not ceasing to learn just yet. April affords us an excellent chance to review our alphabet, in the form of things to be excited about in Tampa Bay. To wit:

    A is for Alton: Food whiz Alton Brown is at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts April 21....

  12. A glossary to help you understand WrestleMania 33 in Orlando


    Working in a newsroom is the surest way to find out people's deepest, darkest secrets.

    Yes, sussing out information is what journalists do for a living. But it's not even that hard. Sit around a meeting and talk about a wide enough variety of topics, and your own people are bound to get found out.

    That's what happened recently involving our Weekend section graphic designer, Ron Borresen, and a little thing called WrestleMania. In the year that Ron has worked at the Tampa Bay Times, we've seen glimmers of his personal interests come through, including his love for rock music (he's always quick to advocate for Bon Jovi coverage)....

    Current WWE Raw women’s champion Bayley, right, shows off her moves. 
  13. Katy Perry's rainbow-colored shoe line is giving us life


    Did you know Katy Perry had a shoe line? It doesn't really matter. Everyone has a shoe line. My cat has a shoe line (it's kind of rote, to be honest, but she doesn't get out much).

    However, in the saturated realm of celeb shoe lines, Katy Perry's new collection is exceedingly on-point. The collection dropped in February, and the headline-making design has been one named for Hillary Clinton, pictured above (Perry is a noted supporter). But if you get past that political nugget, you enter a vast wonderland of multicolored foot confections. The styles, many of which are named after Perry's famous friends, are available at Macy's and online. I'll take ten!...

    Katy Perry's "Hillary," a shoe named after Hillary Clinton. $139.
  14. Happy Birthday, maestro Anton Coppola. A look back at 100 years.


    We're going to need a bigger cake. An operatically-sized cake, you could say.

    That's because Opera Tampa will be sending birthday wishes to the rafters for Anton Coppola, the legendary conductor from the famous family of Coppolas, who turned 100 on Tuesday.

    Performing arts critic Andrew Meacham interviewed Coppola before his return appearance at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Saturday, where the maestro will be conducting some of his original works and some old favorites. 5....

    Maestro Anton Coppola will celebrate his 100th birthday by conducting a concert of his own compositions at the Straz on Saturday.
  15. Get ready for the Florida Strawberry Festival with some fun facts


    If you're like me, you're buying them two or three containers at a time right now.

    It's strawberry season, and the fruit is abundant. The Florida Strawberry Festival kicks off this week as well, and we have little red jewels coming out of our ears.

    Food editor Michelle Stark has been home making quick strawberry jam, and has the recipe for you in a quick how-two video on our Tampa Bay Times — Food Facebook page. And as far as fun, we have everything you need to have a blast at the festival, including an interview with performers Little Big Town and a full schedule of entertainment....

    The new strawberry cultivar, Florida Radiance, was developed at the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma. 
Photo provided by the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center