Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Brenda Kelley Kim Resume


Brenda Kelley Kim 

86 Clifton Ave

Marblehead MA 01945



Saint Michael’s College          September 1982-June 1986

BA in English, minor in Political Science. Dean’s list graduate, cum laude


Columnist/Marblehead Current                                            June 2022-December 2022

Wrote a weekly column on family life, observational humor, current events, local happenings. Part of the start up team to launch news for people, not profit. Nominated, Best Humor Columnist, 2021 and 2022, New England Newspaper and Press Association.           

Freelance Blogger/Copywriter Stage Media                         January 2021-January 2022

Created blog posts, landing pages and thought leadership articles when ThirdChannel was acquired by Stage Media. Curated retail news on both brick and mortar analytics, and e-commerce chat software. Created web content on brand reps and the benefit of live chat personnel for e-commerce shoppers. Reported on omnichannel commerce and unified commerce for marketing and sales efforts.

Blogger/Content Creator ThirdChannel                                December 2018-January 2021

Created blog posts for a marketing/SaaS company. Curated retail news and events into content to help bring brands to life in brick and mortar retail locations. Reported on retail industry happenings, trends in sales and consumer engagement, and how to build brand awareness. 

Blogger/Collectibles Writer WorthPoint                                          May 2020-Present

Curate content and write blog posts on collectibles and antiques, including current events in retail and auction spaces, informational articles on values and worth of antiques, and trends in the secondary market space.

Columnist, Marblehead Reporter                                         July 2012-June 2022

Write weekly column on family life, humor and current trends. Published in the Marblehead Reporter as well as other Gannett News publications and online. Recipient of a New England Newspaper and Press Association Award for Humor Columnist, 2020.

Acting/Performing/Hosting                                                   December 2018-Present

Actress: Part of an ensemble cast for two consecutive seasons.  Our group performed the first ever candlelit production of Dickens “A Christmas Carol” at the Jeremiah Lee Mansion, Marblehead MA. Played three parts in a two-act staged reading of the classic, which included working to create a set, sourcing costume materials, memorizing lines, helping with audience participation, while making sure not to burn down a historic mansion. 

Trivia Show Host: Hosted trivia shows in pubs and restaurants on the North Shore with Sporcle, Inc. Created show playlists, questions, and themes. Hosted live games with bar patrons, managed audience scores, prizes, and league standings for one year. Currently hosting independent shows for corporate events, USO service member events, fundraisers and private parties. Created theme nights, researched questions, wrote scripts for events that included awards and employee recognition ceremonies.

Author,                                                                         May 2016 

Self-published author of “Sink or Swim: Tales From the Deep End of Everywhere Available on Amazon



Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Finding Pickleball

 “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”

---Mike Singletary


I have never been the sporty type. Being a child in the 1960s and 1970s, of course I was shoved outside every day by my mother and instructed to, “Go play! Ride your bike, play something, go!” I usually wound up annoying my brother and his friends, riding my bike, or just going to the beach to throw rocks. I was never on a team, never wanted to learn to skate, kick a ball, or do backflips on the uneven bars. OK, the backflips would never have happened even if I’d wanted to, but still. Sports were not on my radar unless shoving my way through the lunch line counts. 

In my forties I found badminton, and while that still doesn’t make me an athlete, the game really is very important in my life. I’ve made good friends, gotten some much-needed exercise, and learned that spending an hour whacking birds is a great way to relieve stress. Recently, I tried a new sport; I’ve played badminton for ten years now, something new can be fun, right?


Hello, pickleball! Yes, that game that every woman of a certain age…ahem…seems to take up. According the US Pickleball Association (yes, that’s really a thing) the average age of a pickleball player is 43.5 years old. Already, before even stepping on the court, at the age of 57, I am solidly above average! Go me. So, I set out to find a game, someone that could teach me, and maybe some players who needed a fourth etc. I was jumping in with both feet, securely wrapped in Ace bandages of course, because these ankles are not what they used to be. I settled on a group that plays at Swampscott Middle School after seeing a post on Facebook looking for new players. On a perfect fall morning, on tennis courts taped with pickleball lines, I was ready to be brave enough to stink at something new, and boy did I stink. 


Yes, there is a net, a court, and paddles, so while I thought it would be similar to badminton, it’s really not. There is much more finesse in pickleball. You don’t really smash like you do in badminton. The strategic shot in many pickleball matches is the dink. No, that’s not a typo. A dink is a carefully placed move to score a point. The shots are much more controlled; it’s about keeping the game moving, getting the ball over the net (a challenge for me, even though the net is lower than badminton) and having a match that everyone can enjoy. Of course, there is still competition, but it’s a game of carefully measured moves and some low-key strategy. Clearly this will be a huge adjustment for me. The court is also much smaller, and there is a section that’s called the “no volley zone.” I’m still a bit unclear on when you can cross into that, and when you can’t. There’s some rule about where the ball bounces, but honestly, the problem might be that the no volley zone is also called “the kitchen” and that’s never been a place where I have found much success. 

Pickleball is also much more of an outdoor sport than I realized. Wind impacts the ball, which is like a wiffle ball, it’s lightweight plastic and has holes in it. It still wicked hurts when it hits you in the eye, just like a shuttlecock, but again, that’s a me thing, and not a game thing. The first safety rule isn’t about dodging the dink though, it’s about going backwards. One of the leading causes of injuries in the game is shuffling backwards and falling down. My father always told me, “Always go forward, not backwards. You’re not going that way, also you’ll fall over.” Turns out he was right. 

So far, my only significant accomplishment on the court is showing up. That’s important though, right? You can’t win if you don’t play, but for me, it’s not about winning. Hell, at this point I don’t even know how many points make a win. My goals are gradual. I’ve managed to show up, then I bought my own paddle, and pretty soon I might actually score a point. In the meantime it’s been a fun challenge to meet new people and share a little time learning a new skill. Also, I scored some new tennis shoes from a friend, and they’re red, so it’s game on!


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Creating Community


“It’s not only music. It’s not only art. It’s a community. It’s a sense of having a place to belong.”

---Jared Leto

Sitting in a small local restaurant or pub, chatting with others, sharing some music and food, is pretty much a perfect place for me. Meeting people and being out my own community, or, really anywhere, is a way to connect to my surroundings, revel in the familiar places and faces, and see new ones. That’s why I had such a good time recently at Café Avellino. The owner, Teresa, is a good friend and she always makes sure her guests are comfortable and works hard to make it that local spot, “Where everybody knows your name.”

Besides making the best arancini in the world (and meatballs, and bruschetta and so much else) she regularly hosts local artists, musicians and other creative people to share the work they do. While I was chowing down on Teresa’s food, I got to meet the “Traveling Artist Couple” Monique and Blane from They’ve been just about everywhere in the world, and it shows in the artwork they create. Luckily, they are now local and have been sharing their work in the community. 

That’s the thing about community. It doesn’t really have to be sought out. It’s not like the latest video game system that you have to wait five months to get, or the newest cell phone that’s on back order everywhere. The community is all around us; we just have to jump in and be a part of it.  Especially now. The disruption of COVID, and the isolation some of us endured put a real dent in most communities. The dark days of shuttered restaurants and clubs, and empty school buildings are behind us; I’m hoping to never have to go back to being closed off from friends and fun events. While many of us learned new skills like navigating Zoom meetings, making masks from fabric scraps, and hunting down toilet paper, none of that is a substitute for being present in our communities, fully and not virtually. 

Anyone who knows me will tell you how addicted I am to my screens and my technology. They are not wrong; someday my skull is just going to melt from the constant blue light of my laptop and my phone. During the pandemic, when everything was shut down, the tech was my lifeline, and the same was true for many others. Whether you needed to binge-watch something, or FaceTime a friend, virtual was at least a small bit of connection, or, at least distraction. Fortunately, we are able to be out more now. We can hug our family members that we’ve missed, we can see a movie, go to a concert or a museum. It’s not like it was, but honestly, that would be true pandemic or not. Time brings change, and before is before. Now is where we are, and where we need to gather with others. It’s these local places, these faces we’ve not seen in far too long that we need to stay connected to, through food, music, art, or just a chat over a cappuccino. 

An event like the art exhibit at Café Avellino is the perfect example of how to bring people together. Good food? Check. Teresa is my go-to for delicious Italian meals. Good company? Check. While Café Avellino might seem small in size, it is a huge part of a new community along Humphrey Street in Swampscott. Shops, restaurants, and specialty markets have people flocking there. On any given night the sidewalk tables are filled with people chatting, having a coffee, and getting know each other. Good art? Check that too. The works by Monique and Blane have stories behind each image. They represent experiences and small vignettes of their travels, and they love to share them. Having an artist talk about their work, how it came about and what sparked a particular piece makes art come to life in a way that doesn’t happen over Zoom, or on a website. That’s why it’s so vital to recognize those in our communities that are working to showcase creativity and strengthen connections. 

The wicked bad storm we just had? That took out power to many homes, it kept kids home from school, and some businesses had to close for a day or so. Definitely not as bad as the pandemic closings, but once the skies had cleared, the tables and umbrellas were back out in front of the cafes because a community was created by people like Teresa, Monique, Blane and so many others. Winter is coming, and that will likely mean no sidewalk dining for a while, but if we all keep being safe, keep looking out for each other, the community stays strong. What better way to head into winter?

Thursday, September 30, 2021

It's Piehole Time!

“Just around the corner, there’s a rainbow in the sky/so let’s have another cup o’coffee/And let’s have another piece of pie.” ----Irving Berlin
Who doesn't love pie? There is a kind of pie for every appetite, whether it's apple pie brimming with cinnamon and a scoop of ice cream on the side or a summer blueberry pie with fresh-picked fruit and a flaky crust. I would almost venture to say that there aren’t many problems that can’t be solved by having some pie and a cup of coffee, right? Of course, pie and coffee go well with colleagues and conversation, right? If you’re going to have pie, you should share. A pie shape is the ultimate symbol of dividing up resources. So why not share some ideas and a shortcrust too? Invite someone over, bake a pie, put on a pot of coffee, and get down to work. That’s what’s great about a lot of foods and traditions. Sitting down to a meal or a snack with someone is a way to show others who you are. When you own your words, you let people know what you stand for in this crazy world.
My favorite part of being a writer is telling stories under my byline, which is a fancy newspaper term for my real name. Every pie that comes out of a hot oven, with steam shooting up out of the middle and sugar bubbling along the edge of the crust, probably has a story as well. Did it get made with apples picked on a weekend trip to a farm? Did little pudgy toddler hands gather the blueberries in grandma's garden? Maybe it's just me, but honestly, it's about more than just what's in the pie. I want to know who made it, where they got the recipe and was there some special ingredient that makes it so delicious. Perhaps it’s the fact that I come from a long line of Irish yappers. Keeping our mouths shut isn’t something the women in my family believe in or aspire to; we have other talents.
In most bakeries, each pie has a little label or sign on it to tell you what's in it. That’s where my willpower fails me. Chocolate cream, blueberry, mincemeat all seem like tiny signals from the universe that say, "This is a great pie. You should get this pie so you can share it; hurry, put the coffee on!" Honestly, I don't understand why there hasn't been a national effort to get more pie into, well, our pieholes. Oh, and just saying, isn’t piehole the best word ever? It’s not often I get to use a compound word that ends in “hole” in this column (but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought of a few.)
Photo courtesy of #PieholeWhiskey

As I've been recovering from back surgery, I've also been watching my weight. Because, well, there was a lot of time flat on my back, and so many of my sweet friends brought delicious meals to help me out. Do the math. Less activity plus more snacks works out to several pounds I do not need. So, sure, I cut back on a few foods, but I didn't forget who I am. Salads do not comfort me. Baby carrots with hummus don’t heal my bruised soul, or my cracked back after a tough day. Do you know what does? Pie and friends. Oh, and some ice cream. I don't make the rules, but you need ice cream with pie; it's practically required. The friend part should be as well. Because in between bites of strawberry rhubarb, banana cream, or pumpkin, you might hear some great stories. You might learn something you can't when you're home alone, hiding behind a keyboard or a pen, too afraid to let people know who you are. Why do some of us choose to spread criticism with awkward scribbles and no ownership? How is being nameless and faceless more fun than having pie and an honest conversation?
The signs at the bakery tell us what’s in a pie, but we all have words, names, life stories, and personal beliefs that tell others who we are and what we believe. Without all that, well, you're likely to remain invisible and unheard; you really won't matter much if you're not putting yourself out there, warts and all. Of course, you do you, but I'm calling some friends to hang out. Now, where is that pie I picked up, it's apple, and it's calling my name.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Over the River....

 “Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather’s house we go.”

---Lydia Maria Child

Yes, we're a long way from Thanksgiving, but finally, with vaccines rolling out, the country is opening up again. I was recently planning a trip because while I don't have grandparents, and neither do my children, I needed to get the heck out of town. It's been a long spell and like everyone else, I was antsy, so I decided to see what was happening in what my kids call "GrannyLand” but is actually Florida. In these early months of venturing out after the lockdowns, how are families reconnecting?

I am by no means a world traveler, but planning a trip is one of my favorite activities. I chose to visit a few places in the Sunshine State, rather than just stay in one area. I could say it was for research purposes, but mostly, it's because I have the patience of a gnat on Red Bull. First stop? Everyone's happy place, Orlando. Home of a famous mouse, and a whole of fun. At the resort where I stayed, it was all condos, and here’s a pro tip: if you’re going to pack up the family to see grandparents, get a condo. That way everyone has their own space. Also, it would help if the resort was awesome, and Bonnet Creek is definitely that. It’s always a gamble when you book something that looks amazing online, and then…isn’t…when you arrive, but staying at Club Wyndham was the best choice. Big rooms, a balcony with a view, and a lazy river on the property? Yes, please! 

This is the suite life!  So big my feet won't reach

Who doesn't love a gift basket?

Think about it, if you’re traveling with younger kids and older relatives that’s a lot of needs to meet in one trip. In my suite, I had plenty of room to spread out, and given the past year, it was glorious. I think we all need a little luxury and space at this point. There was also a quiet pool and a more family-friendly pool because as much as they love them, most grandparents don't want to play Marco Polo with the kiddies for hours in the hot sun. Also, cabanas. Seriously, it’s not just some sunshade thing on the beach. It’s a poolside living room, complete with cable and food service. There’s definitely something for everyone in a cabana, just don’t touch the snacks, those are mine. I’d put one in my backyard, but I doubt it would be the same. 

Since grandparents in Florida don't all live at Disneyworld, I hit the road south to Palm Beach and if I ever get to be a granny, I want to live there. It's unlikely unless I hit the Powerball, but seriously, this place is magical. My mother lived there in the 1950s when it was the center of the jet-set café society, and it's easy to see why she loved it so much. The Breakers, the iconic oceanfront hotel, is gorgeous in every way (at least to me) and while I didn't stay there, I spent an evening there and it was


Always iconic, always amazing.

I thought I would see aging Boomers in blue blazers and button-downs, but there were kids, honeymooners, couples, and singles. At the pool, having a cocktail, or just soaking it in, it was a little bit like stepping into a whole other time, just for a few hours. Getting to see our families again means we are just about through a terrible time, and the good parts we've missed will be back. That's what I noticed most on this quick visit to the Breakers. Yes, the food is amazing, the service impeccable, and the surroundings luxurious, but the families having dinner or hanging at the pool?  You could see the connection; you could see that it wasn’t just another dinner with the grands. These moments stood out. It was as if everyone was just so glad to be exactly where they were. Of course, if you’re at the Breakers, how can you not be glad, right? Still, it was a family environment that just happens to be fabulous, and we all need a little fabulous right now.

Seriously, the best drink I've ever had and
that is saying something

As we move forward and start to resume dinners out and weekend getaways, we need to remember our extended family as well. Parents are exhausted from remote school, working, childcare, and stress. Grandparents have been isolated while trying to stay safe and have missed seeing family. It's the perfect time to plan a multigenerational trip. It might not be over the river and through the wood, but it doesn't have to be Palm Beach and theme parks either. Because I'm a huge nerd, I detoured for one night to the Space Coast. Seriously, that new Space Force we have? It's real! There's now a USSF base in Cocoa Beach. I didn't run into Major Nelson, but there's an "I Dream of Jeannie Lane." There's a pier where you can buy tacky souvenirs and get a drink that comes in a coconut. They sell Apollo 11 moon landing memorabilia and surfboards on every corner, does it get any more multigenerational?

It’s not entirely about where you go, I guess, it’s about who is traveling with you. If you can, go see your family. It’s time.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Guilt Sucks

 “There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure.”

---Douglas Wilson

A few days ago, I was running errands with lots of stops to pick up this or that and drop off that or this. When I got hungry, I thought I’d just duck into Mickey Ds, grab some fries, and get on with it. Well, it was more hangry, than just hungry, and the drive up line was kind of long so when I got to the order screen it must have been the starvation mode that made me order a Happy Meal.

Happy Meals were a staple in our family when the kids were growing up. I could get them to do just about anything by dangling a Happy Meal for motivation. The promise of fries, a soda and a toy, was currency when my kids were little. Happy Meals became rewards for going above and beyond, they were reserved only for special treats, and when you’re a 6 year-old, that’s a big deal. So, imagine me, a grown woman, well into middle age, sitting in the car chomping on fries and racing a little plastic cartoon car along the dashboard. Oh, and bonus day, they now have chocolate milk in Happy Meals. Is there anything better, as a busy adult, to get to take 10 minutes out of your day to get chocky milk and nuggs?

Yes, I realize this makes me sound like some unbalanced snack sneaker, with food issues, and while that’s not completely incorrect, it’s also not unique to me. I asked around and almost all of my friends have what are sometimes called “guilty pleasures.” Guilty? Guilty of what? It’s not a crime to love French fries; it’s not a crime to want a little play time, right? I think what the term is supposed to imply is that some treats are taboo. You’re not supposed to like horking down three brownies, you shouldn’t enjoy watching some mindless reality show about overdressed housewives getting drunk and arguing. Those are bad habits; you should be eating salads and watching PBS. 

Guess what? Nothing fun happens over a salad. Yes, they’re healthy, and some of them have feta cheese and olives and are wicked good, it’s just that no one savors them. No one says, “OMG, just one more bite of the baby spinach, it’s so good.” No one telling a really funny story about the time they crashed a wedding wants to crunch on some carrots, they need a big fat steak fry to wave around. Think about all the good times you’ve had with friends over the years. Birthday parties, girls’ nights out, Spring Break etc. I’m betting none of those gut busting stories and adventures included a quinoa protein bowl with shoepeg corn and a side of kale. The good times we remember, the laughs, the driving aimlessly with friends on a hot summer night, mostly all included roast beef sandwiches on the beach, ice cream cones that dripped on your shoes, and at least one 3 AM stop at IHOP. 

I think many of us are coming out of a long year of lockdowns, social distancing, and in some cases, isolation. With vaccination rates going up and active cases going down, we’re a little like Amish kids on rumpshpringa, just losing our minds over being able to sit at a bar again or see a movie or go to a gathering. Staying home, working at home, going to school at home makes for a lot of togetherness. Day after day after day…I’m betting someone in every family has grabbed the car keys and bolted out of the house, maybe to mail a letter or pick up a gallon of milk and took the long way home. The long way that goes past Dairy Witch, or Five Guys. The long way that maybe involves a stop at a convenience store to buy a few scratch tickets and a slushie and sit in the car slurping and scratching and listening to the 80s station on the radio. 

We tend to look around at others, at where they go and how they behave, and compare ourselves to them. All I got during the pandemic were twenty extra pounds and a new office chair. One of my friends started a new business, lost 40 pounds, won an award for her work with a non-profit, and I’m pretty sure she’s in the running to be an astronaut too. She's a perfectly nice person, but I kind of hate her. We might believe that these uber successful people never find themselves in the parking lot of a 7-11, snarfing down pecan rolls and scrolling through YouTube cat videos on their phone just for a few minutes of privacy, but we’d be wrong. I don’t care who you are, you’ve been there. If you got a little pleasure out of a late-night taco run, that isn’t a crime and you’ve no reason to be guilty over it. Life can be hard, so have the fries, or the ice cream, or the taco once in a while. 

No guilt.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

I Like Big Trucks, I cannot lie...

 "There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million."

---Walt Streightiff

My children aren't children anymore, they are young adults, but back in the days of Matchbox cars, training wheels, and playdates, my oldest had to have a daily matinee of a video called, "Road Construction Ahead." Some genius filmmaker made an entire 45-minute video of the construction of a new highway, from blasting the ledge, to steamrolling the tar and painting the lines. There were almost no words in the film, just some catchy stock music that, at least for a little while, was burned into my brain. Andy loved to watch the dynamite blow up, the dump trucks roll and the jackhammers pound away and no matter how many times he watched it, he never got tired of it. Also, it bought me 45 minutes to cook dinner or at least find a takeout menu and dial.

He's a grown man now, living on his own, gainfully employed and completely independent, but I'm betting that now and then if he's sitting in traffic near a construction zone, he looks over at all the trucks, and the equipment and remembers the movie that has to be burned into his memory as well. My middle boy and my daughter were not much different. George loved to tinker with cars, and he'd watch the factory show, "How It's Made" in long binges to see how jet engines were built and furnaces were welded. My daughter loved to watch the trash truck come and smash up all the bags of garbage while the workers hung on to the handles and waved at her. It seems that children just love to watch big machines at work.

So, imagine my surprise the other day when I was sitting at my dining room table, tucking into some work, and a nice blueberry muffin, when I heard the air brakes of a very large truck just a few feet from my window. I have neighbors that are remodeling the home they just purchased, so there's often a crew over there. They've cleared the brush away, put in new windows, a roof, and some other work, but like any construction site, they have a dumpster, and it needs to be emptied regularly. The truck that comes and hauls it away has these pneumatic pumps that slide up, with a system of cables and pulleys that I would probably understand if I hadn't slept through physics class.

 I thought back to when my kids were little and how much they would have loved to watch the dumpster get hooked on and hauled up at a 45-degree angle and then set down, flat, without one single piece of trash falling out of it. Then I realized that I'd been gawking at this truck and dumpster for ten minutes and hadn't gotten a bit of work done. There was a deadline looming (when isn't there?) but honestly, the truck and the dumpster were way more interesting.

See, the yard is kind of narrow, and dumpsters are big. This hauler thing had to back into a very small space, precisely in the correct spot to line up the tracks of the dumpster with the bed of the truck. My nose was practically smooshed up against the glass of my kitchen window where I had moved to get a better look. 

Yes, it sounds very Gladys Kravitz of me to be noseballing into my neighbor's yard, but it's kind of hard to miss a ginormous truck hauling a dumpster on a wire. Who wouldn't stop to watch that? It went off without a hitch (ha, hitch, see what I did there?) and it was back to work for me, but what a nice break it was. Close order maneuvers with big vehicles always impress me since my parking skills are nearly nonexistent. I couldn't parallel park one of those little kid Cozy Cars; there is no way backing up a 25-foot truck and latching onto a half-ton of dumpster debris would happen for me. A good friend lives in Vermont and has a very long driveway with a lovely lawn on both sides, and it bends a bit towards the end as you get to the street. In the 20 or so years she has lived there, I have never managed to back my little car down the drive without running over the grass on at least one side, usually both. My car has a back-up camera, a rearview mirror, two side mirrors, and a bunch of crash sensors and my tires are still tearing up the grass.

Maybe that's why little kids like to watch big trucks and construction machines? Because it's something they can't do, so it seems magical to them? Who knows, but it kind of makes me want to look for more opportunities to slow down for a few minutes and watch something happen, just for the sake of watching it. Not to fix it, or change it, but just watch something like a boat docking and unloading lobsters at The Landing, or someone flying a drone over Seaside Park. No goal, no task, just sit and look at a cool truck, or a nice boat, or even just the blue jays that dart around my yard and try to dive-bomb the bunnies. I think taking a break and staring at something other than a screen can be a way to wind down and de-stress, so that's going to be my goal. Oh, and if anyone is having a dumpster hauled away anytime soon, call me!