Make us your home page

Brittany Volk, Times Staff Writer

Brittany Volk

Brittany Volk is a senior features designer at the Tampa Bay Times. She designs and art directs the Taste, Latitudes, Weekend and Personal Best sections and has been with the Times since 2011. She also contributes to the Times' pop culture blog, The Feed. She grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2009 with degrees in Journalism and Studio Art.

Phone: (727) 893-8455


Twitter: @bevolk

Instagram: @tampabaytimesdesign and @bevolk

  1. Beards are back in style, but guys, take care of them


    Tired of sitting in front of a computer screen for a living, Tyler Goelz wanted to make something tangible. The 28-year-old web developer only had to look in the mirror to find inspiration.

    Facial hair is back in full force. Whether they are making a trendy statement, or are just lazy shavers, guys are rockin' ZZ Top full-length beards, swoon-worthy scruff or even just a wispy hipster mustache. But men are arguably clueless when it comes to skin care, said Goelz, so with his own beard in mind, he knew he could help....

    Tyler Goelz of St. Petersburg, the creator of Organic Beard Supply, is pictured at Central Oak Barber Co. in St. Petersburg with some of his products. Goelz, 28, has had a beard since he could grow one.
  2. 5 ideas for cooking with frozen tots


    "You are what you eat, and I'm probably a potato." I'm quoting a friend of mine, but honestly, that sounds about right for me, too. There are all sorts of varieties, but perhaps my favorite potato is one that is shaped like a tater tot. Kids love tots, but I know lots of grownups like myself who cannot pass them up on a menu. And these puffy cylinders don't have to just be vessels for dipping sauce. Here are five other ways to use a bag of your favorite frozen potato puffs....

    Tater Tots are transformed into pa-tot-as bravas, a play on the Spanish dish patatas bravas, with a spicy tomato-chorizo sauce, plus mayo and parsley. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
  3. Mane Stay Hair Studio owners talk color, flat irons, good selfies


    Sitting poolside one weekend, Amanda Galmiche started daydreaming of her own salon and asking "What if?" Luckily, her friend and co-worker Rachel Korman got serious, and together, they opened Mane Stay Hair Studio in St. Petersburg in January.

    Both Galmiche, originally from Detroit, and Korman, of Palmetto, have Aveda educations and apprenticed at Arrojo Studio in New York City. But their paths didn't cross until they shared the same station at a St. Pete salon. After breaking out on their own, the women are growing their business slowly....

    Rachel Korman, left, and Amanda Galmiche opened their St. Petersburg salon, Mane Stay Hair Studio, in January. They both have Aveda educations and apprenticed at Arrojo Studio in New York City.
  4. 3 wonderfully weird shows premiering next week: 'The Lowe Files,' 'What Would Diplo Do?' 'Comrade Detective'


    It seems like nothing is off limits on TV these days. Next week, three new shows air that I can't believe are really happening. They're all weird in their own ways, and I'm delighted. But let's be honest, at the point I'd probably watch a TV show about people coming up with TV shows. America has spoken, and we'll watch just about anything to distract us from our boring lives.

    The Lowe Files

    First up, Rob Lowe returns to our living rooms with a new reality show on A&E. This heartthrob and his two handsome sons, Matthew and John Owen, will explore mysterious legends and stories with help from scientific experts and even Rob's personal shaman. It's like a real-life version of Supernatural, a long-running CW show about two brothers and sometimes their dad hunting ghosts and supernatural beings. The nine-episode series takes them on all the quintessential adventures: searching for Bigfoot; finding an underwater alien base; and tracing haunted landmarks. The guys ooze so much charm, even when ordering doughnuts at a local shop. Rob narrates the episodes, showing just how much he loves sharing his sci-fi and paranormal obsession with his 20-something sons. It's clear they're all having a blast, especially while scaring the pants off each other. "What's that quote? It's not about the destination. It's about the journey," says Matthew in the car on the way to a haunted castle. "I think that's Miley Cyrus, maybe?" laughs John Owen. Oh, you boys are so funny. 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, on A&E....

    Matthew, from left, Rob, and John Owen Lowe explore supernatural legends in A&E's new reality show "The Lowe Files."
  5. What you need to know about eyelash extensions: how they work, what they cost


    Natali Cespedes knew the next big thing was lash extensions.

    After applying eyelash extensions on clients for eight years out in California, she wanted to open her own business somewhere where trend hadn't quite taken off, yet.

    "I've always wanted to move here," said Cespedes. She opened Lash Addict Studio in January 2016 and her business grew so fast she had to move to a bigger place almost immediately. In the last year and a half, she has brought on more lash technicians, who are "always booked and busy."...

    Volume lash artist Gabrielle Dalip poses for a portrait at Lash Addict Studio.
  6. Emmy noms 2017: What they got right ('The Handmaid's Tale') and who they snubbed ('Insecure')


    Are you sick of reading about television yet? We sure aren't.

    The summer months mean a bit of a lull in new series, a gluttony of cheesy game shows and the arrival of Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

    Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) and Anna Chlumsky (Veep) announced the winners this morning. Moore will be coming back to the small screen in CBS's S.W.A.T. Team this fall, thank heavens, but it was cute watching him get giddy with Chlumsky, who was nominated for the fifth consecutive time for Veep....

    Anthony Hopkins in Westworld.
  7. 5 ideas for tomato-free pasta sauces


    Mom may have made most meals in our house, but my father is no stranger to the kitchen. I love remembering the Saturdays my Jersey dad spent brewing Grandmom's recipe for marinara sauce. Every pot was used, red splattered on every surface, the entire house fragrant with delicious Italian seasonings. It was a magnificent kitchen crime scene. However, I'm not about to give away a secret family recipe. So let's forget about the classic tomato pasta topper, and consider these five other sauces....

    Avocado Sauce is an easy pasta topper if you’re looking for something light.
  8. 12 shows to watch this summer, from 'Game of Thrones' to vampires in 'Midnight, Texas'

    The Feed

    There's a long, hot summer ahead of us. So let's turn up the AC, cozy up to our screens and binge some TV, shall we? Here are our top new and returning shows to check out.

    Brittany Volk and Chelsea Tatham, Times staff writers

    The Carmichael Show

    NBC, 9 p.m., Wednesday, May 31

    Jerrod Carmichael's sitcom consistently pushes boundaries, and recently it was announced that the show will air the n-word unedited in this upcoming third season. Even though most of the episodes take place in the living room, as in many family sitcoms before it, The Carmichael Show trades in the heartwarming, teachable moments for insightful and frustrating debates. This hilariously opinionated family (Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier) discusses many hot button issues, and their politics don't always lean to one side. Stream the first two seasons on Netflix and Hulu....

  9. Five ideas for rice and beans


    Cheap and healthy meals don't have to be boring. With a variety of options, a classic beans-and-rice dish can be served in lots of ways. And many cultures have mastered this dynamic duo. So whether you're making a satisfying meal for lunch, or a tasty side dish for dinner, here are some easy recipes to get you started. Each one is meatless and uses canned beans. However, cooking dried beans from scratch is even more cost-effective, and can add more flavor if you simmer the beans in broths and spices. That's the beauty here: With just a simple spice adjustment or vegetable addition, this dish can taste entirely different each time....

  10. Review: 'Fargo' back with less splash, more nuance and tension

    The Feed

    There's something about the Northern accent. It invokes the seemingly slow and simply charming life of the Midwest. It can make any story sound "nice." Believable, even. And it sets the literal and figurative tone for Fargo, a sweeping crime saga that's also comedic, albeit dark.

    Each season of Noah Hawley's anthology series begins with one small, usually well-intentioned mistake that eventually unravels a series of bloody events. And the show spews buckets of it. The FX series is inspired by the Coen brothers movie of the same name, and Season 3 premieres April 19. And this time, it all begins with a silly sibling rivalry over a vintage stamp....

    Carrie Coon plays the newly divorced Gloria Burgle, a single mom, on Season 3 of Fargo.
  11. Review: IFC's sports comedy 'Brockmire' is a funny and foul ball

    The Feed

    "That ball cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery because it just got tattooed!" yells legendary baseball announcer Jim Brockmire in probably one of the best home run calls ever. Brockmire is a fictional character in IFC's newest comedy, premiering at 10 p.m. Wednesday. (You can watch the first episode for free here.)

    Brockmire builds off a Funny or Die video from a few years ago where real-life sports announcers discuss Jim Brockmire's epic on-air meltdown. While broadcasting a major league, Brockmire hilariously gives a profane play-by-play of his wife's lurid affair. (The details are not suitable for a family newspaper)....

    Hank Azaria plays legendary baseball announcer Jim Brockmire, who is fired after an epic on-air meltdown.
  12. My dad turned birthdays into an opportunity to master creatively decorated cakes


    My dad got me a car for my 16th birthday. A convertible the color of Champagne, it was exactly what I wanted.

    Except I couldn't fit in it. Because it was on top of a cake.

    Dad is a funny guy, always pretending he isn't going to make anything special. Whatever, Dad. For a man who says he hates surprises, he sure loved to surprise me and my sister. And like a secret birthday elf, he mysteriously worked on these cakes, hiding them until the moment he unveiled his elaborate creations....

    Allie’s cowboy cake was graced with a new belt buckle and a Toy Story Woody hat.
  13. Review: 'Imaginary Mary' is an unimaginative sitcom

    The Feed

    Jenna Elfman deserves more than a fluffy CGI co-star. We all do, really.

    Imaginary Mary is ABC's latest attempt at another heartwarming family comedy. This one comes from Adam F. Goldberg, whose other show, The Goldbergs, is part of the network's run of solid sitcoms.

    Mary is a disappointing addition that explores a tired premise with one quirk: A successful working woman (Elfman) suppressing her maternal instincts unexpectedly falls for a dorky dude (Stephen Schneider, Broad City) with three kids. In order to cope with her newfound responsibilities and anxieties, Alice's childhood imaginary friend Mary reappears....

    IMAGINARY MARY - ABC's ?ˆš’Imaginary Mary" stars Mary. (ABC)
  14. Five ideas for puff pastry, from savory to sweet


    With a fold, wrap or a twist, puff pastry can be part of a savory appetizer or a sweet dessert — and sometimes both. My favorite? Puff pastry, jam and a wheel of Brie. Packages of puff pastry sheets should be a freezer staple. These five easy recipes all use the standard frozen 17.3-ounce package from Pepperidge Farm. I've never attempted to make my own puff pastry, and after watching a few seasons of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, I'm not sure it's worth the struggle when the frozen ones are just so convenient....

    Put leftover ham to good use in Ham and Cheese Puffs.
  15. Review: John Lithgow is a lovable doofus in NBC's 'Trial & Error' crime spoof

    The Feed

    It's about time that crime documentaries got the silly sitcom spoof.

    NBC's Trial & Error takes inspiration from murder mysteries such as Netflix's Making a Murderer and HBO's The Jinx for its newest goofy mockumentary. And Error is not unlike the network's previous workplace comedy hits The Office and Parks & Recreation. And, as with those shows, it'll need time to marinate all the zany characters and their quirks. ...

    John Lithgow plays hilarious doofus Larry Henderson, a “rollercizing” poetry professor accused of homicide. He always manages to say and do the wrong thing.