How To Set And Keep Your Resolutions For The New Year

Call them resolutions, intentions, or goals.  The new year is fast approaching and it is when many people vow THIS will be the year they will keep their resolutions, only to see them fall to the wayside by Valentines day.  

Not this year.  It is up to you, right now, to decide if this year will be better for you than the last. But it takes some thought and planning to make goals stick.


The number one reason people often don’t achieve their goals? They are too broad and lack a plan.  A solid plan must:

  •  Be achievable by a specific date. 
  • Be measurable AND specific.  In other words, a complete stranger should be able to determine whether or not you have achieved it.
  • It should positively impact you life even if indirectly.

For example if your goal is to build your saving account in the next year.  This is what a goal could look like:

LOUSY:  “Save money.”

BETTER: “Save 1,000.”

GOOD: “Have 1,000 in a saving account by December 31, 2023.”

AWESOME: “ Make $100 extra dollars month by working an extra day/overtime/side gig, put it in savings and don’t spend a penny of it. “ 


Create a ‘No-fail” environment: The fewer loopholes you have available to you, the easier it will be  to succeed.

  • Be Prepared: If you are going to start exercising make sure you have the right attire (meaning no leotards from 1985) and dig out your treadmill from the pile of clothes that have settled there. If your goal is to eat healthier, clean out your fridge/pantry.  The open jar of frosting, the stale cookies in the cupboard, the hidden stash of Tootsie Rolls.  Get rid of them. If more money is the goal, you can start now by cutting back on the streaming services (tough one I know), use grocery apps for coupons and make coffee at home. 
  • Treat Yourself:  The surest path to a failed goal is to try and force yourself to do something that makes you miserable.  Remember, the goal is to make this year BETTER than the last, and build life long habits, not suffertr though self imposed rules and restrictions.  So reward yourself a long the way.
  • Consistently Motivate Yourself.  No matter how revved up you are at the beginning of the year , chances are as time goes on your forcus and energy start to wane and you will be tempted to throw in the sneakers, quinoa, textbooks, meet ups, etc (this is why most New Yeasrs resolution fizzle by February 14th.) So plan ahead. Surround yourself with motivation and reminders.  Copy some motivational memes from social media and keep them on your phone.  Subscribe to blogs and podcast from people who have achieved the same goal forwhich you are stiving, and share your goal with supportive family and friends so they can encourage you a long the way. 

Remember nothing changes if nothing changes.  Make a plan, put in the effort, cheer yourself on and imagine what you can achieve in 2023. Happy New Year. 

By: Sherri Sacconaghi, Creative Strategist for EPB&B and former Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer

Make 2023 your year. You can do it!


We Met Our Match: EPB&B Donates $5,000 To Stone Soup

You donate to Stone Soup  and we will match it.  That was the promise we at Elliott, Powell, Baden, and Baker made, and one we are more than happy to keep. 

As part of the Willamette Week Give/ Guide! EPB&B Insurance partnered with Stone Soup December 12th through the 18th, offering  matching donation for every dollar raised up to $5,000. Thanks to the generosity of so many in the community we met that goal (and even surpassed it) and had the honor of presenting a check for $5,000 to Stone Soup.

Stone Soup empowers Individuals to feed communities.  The money donated to Stone Soup goes toward training in workforce development and hands on culinary expertise for people who might otherwise be facing homelessness. Their participants learn the skills necessary to obtain gainful employment by making tasty, healthy and fresh meals for shelter guests, all within a trauma-informed environment.  Participants not only get the training for free, but Stone Soup  pays them a stipend to train as well.  The more funds raised, the more people they can help develop skills that can give them tools to earn a living.

Looking for that perfect last minute gift? Community members can also support the Stone Soup program by purchasing Soup subscriptions  and supporting monthly pop-up dinners. 

“It was so fun be in partnership with Stone Soup for the matching donation week” says EPB&B Creative Strategist, Sherri Sacconaghi. “ The dedication of the people at Stone Soup to their mission of giving training and hope to people at risk for homelessness is inspirational, and we are proud to be an ongoing part of their support network.”

Thank you again to everyone who donated to Stone Soup this holiday season and we are hopeful you will join EPB&B in supporting this innovative, dedicated, and essential organization throughout the year.

We promised and we are more than happy to deliver a check to Suzanne Olvey of Stone Soup (Center).

The EPB&B team from L: Frank Baccellieri, Producer; Sherri Sacconaghi, Creative Strategist; Marc Baker, President/CEO; Chris Harte, CFO/HR Manager; Leeann Harmon, Commercial Lines Account Manager; Olivia Astrue, Personal Lines Account Manager.


Recycle, Re-purpose Or Toss? The Do’s and Dont’s Of Post Holiday Clean Up  

We know, the the gifts have yet to be been opened, and the needles are still firmly attached to the tree but before we know it, the holidays will be over and it will be time to  pack up the tinsel and fairy lights until next year . The holidays generate up to 25% more garbage in the weeks leading up to, and after, a major holiday. Before you start loading up the garbage bins with what’s left of your holiday celebrations, be mindful of what needs to be tossed and what can be recycled or saved until next year. 

*These guidelines are from Oregon Metro Recycling, and will vary from state to state. 

What CAN Go Into Home Recycle Bins 

Wrapping Paper/cardboard boxes.   As long as it isn’t made of foil or covered in glitter. Before putting wrapping paper in the recycle bin, remove bows and ribbons, or you can save your bows, ribbons and, if you are a careful gift opener, wrapping paper to reuse next year. 

Trees and Wreaths.  Depending on where you live, most most yard debris pick up services will allow fresh trees and wreaths.  Make sure they are free of wire, ribbon and wayward ornaments before putting them out for pick up. There are also non profits organizations that will recycle your tree for a fee. 

What CANNOT Go Into Home Recycle Bins  

Block Styrofoam. In the Portland area you can drop it off to be recycled at Agilyx in Tigard. Otherwise, Styrofoam goes in the trash.

Packaging Peanuts. Check whether your local packaging store can use them. If not, they go in the trash.

Plastic Packaging .This includes film, bubble wrap and the frustratingly challenging pre-formed plastic encapsulating some toys, batteries and electronics. It all belong in the garbage, even if you see a recycling symbol on them.  Some stores may collect plastic bags, film and bubble wrap for recycling. Check with stores first.

String lights. All string lights are not allowed in home recycling bins and must be taken to a recycling station or tossed in the trash.  In Portland, search Metro’s online database for a recycler close to you. 

Alkaline Batteries. Typical batteries like AA for toys and electronics cannot be recycled and instead can be thrown in the trash.  Many other types of batteries can be both toxic and flammable. Take them to a hazardous waste facility or to Best Buy and Staples, both which  accept electronic waste which you can drop off in-store. Lookup a local e-cycling center.

And about those holiday meals, consider composting .  An alternative to recycling or tossing, it is  surprising  what can go into a compost. Coffee grounds, bread, fruit rinds, tea bags, and much of the leftover waste from baking (think potato peels, fruit and vegetable waste, and eggshells) can be tossed into the compost. Also, any paper that does not adhered with glues or plastics can also be broken down, which includes tissue paper and napkins.

Go to Oregon Metro for more information on the what, where and how’s of recycling after the holidays. 

Unfortunately holiday mishaps can happen. Contact EPB&B Insurance to make sure your personal insurance and your business insurance has you covered.

Wishing you and your family a happy holiday.

Broken glass baubles cannot be recycled and must be tossed.


Donate To Stone Soup And EPB&B Will Match Your Gift

Donate this week to Stone Soup and Elliott, Powell, Baden and Baker will match your donation!

 EPB&B is so lucky to work with so many wonderful non profits in the Portland area, and ths season we are happy so see one of our favorite organizations, Stone Soup, as a highlighted non profit in Willamette Week’s Holiday Give!Guide! This week for every dollar raised the week of December 11-17th, EPB&B will match that donation up to the first $5000. 

Stone Soup Empowers Individuals to Feed Communities.  Stone Soup trains in workforce development and hands on culinary expertise to people who might otherwise be facing homelessness. Their participants learn the skills necessary to obtain gainful employment by making tasty, healthy and fresh meals for shelter guests, all within a trauma-informed environment.

With funds being tight for so many this year, it is more important than ever that people who donate feel their money is making a difference to the organizations to which they choose to give. Rest assured your money makes a big impact for those involved at Stone Soup.

 Participants not only get the training for free, but Stone Soup  pays them a stipend to train as well.  The more fund raised, the more people they can help develop skills that can give them tools to earn a living.

“ We have calculated that for every dollar we raise through donations, we are doing $7.55 worth of good in the community,” Says Stone Soup Executive Director Craig Gerard.

Community members can also support our program by purchasing soup subscriptions and supporting monthly pop-up dinners. 
Please help support Stone Soup this week by donating here .


It’s Cold Outside: Protect your Business From Frozen Pipe Damage 

Bitter temperatures can freeze pipes, creating catastrophic property losses and that can be detrimental to your business. This year we have already had our fair share of cold weather, and chances are it will get colder. But there is still time to prepare. With proper winter weather preparation, you can minimize the impact of severe weather on your business.

Before Freezing Temperatures Occur:

  • Add emergency contacts to your emergency plan. Post the list at all business telephones and make numbers available for every employee to have with them.
  • Identify the person in charge for property maintenance. Have a plan for that person to properly monitor buildings during cold snaps, upping site visits and checking unoccupied areas of buildings such a basements and storage areas. 
  • Properly mark the location of hydrants and sprinkler system post indicator valves for easy cleaning after heavy snow. 
  • Inspect all areas of the building’s inside and outside perimeters to ensure they are sealed.
  • Provide heat for dry-pipe sprinkler system enclosures. If space heaters are used as this heat source, keep them in good operating condition and away from combustible or flammable materials.
  • Maintain roofs; repair leaks, secure flashing, clear debris from the roof’s surface, drains and overflow scuppers.
  • Check that gutters and downspouts are secured to building and clear of leaves and debris. If they iced over during a previous winter, consider properly installing heat trace to prevent major icicles and dams. Consult with a professional roofer to properly assess your situation.
  • Make sure all building openings are weather-tight so they do not admit cold.

Throughout The Winter Months

  • Maintain building temperatures above 55 degrees, with adequate airflow to prevent freezing. Make frequent visits to unoccupied and often overlooked areas: mechanical rooms on an outside wall, closets, space above a finished ceiling, stairways, open warehouse areas with large doors, pipes near glass windows and walls, vestibules and atrium areas.
  • Thaw piping, equipment or building systems that become frozen using extra heat and airflow. Have qualified sprinkler contractors ensure that your sprinkler system is properly repaired and operational before normal building operations are resumed. Never thaw pipes with open flames.
  • Verify that all fire protection equipment is operating effectively and, if it is brought offline or damaged, have a qualified fire protection contractor repair and place the system back into service.

Winter temperatures can have a dramatic effect on your building – and your livelihood, so make sure have taken the steps to protect yourse.  Contact EPB&B to make sure your business is properly insured. 

Make sure roofs and gutters are clear of leaves and debris. Consult a professional regarding installation of a heat trace to prevent major ice blocks and icicles.


Five Tips To Protect Your Holiday Packages From Porch Theft

Did you know that there were 210 million packages stolen from porches in 2021, with the average package being worth one hundred and sixty dollars? The statistics are eye opening. Now, with holiday shopping in full swing, make sure you take the steps to protect your purchases from the grinches looking to steal your stuff.

  • Use a video doorbell: Video doorbells such as Ring will help you catch any criminal in the act on video for you to give to the police. As a bonus,it will also notify you when your package is delivered!
  • Track your packages: All major delivery services provide package tracking. Knowing when your package is expected to arrive and where and when it is delivered is valuable in keeping your items safe. Many drivers take pictures of your packages as confirmation of delivery.
  • Use a secure delivery box: No need to rush home to get your package before a thief does, instead consider a locked delivery box. If you live in a high-traffic area where your items might be targeted, this might be something to consider.
  • Have a hiding spot: Many online vendors provide a space for delivery instructions. At checkout, there is space to indicate a spot for drivers to place your items that are out of sight for passersby.
  • Have packages delivered to your office. For a more secure delivery option, have the shipping company send packages to your place of work where there is someone there to intercept them other than a porch pirate. 

You spend a lot of time and money to find the perfect gift for the ones you love (and even for yourself).  Don’t let the Grinch steal your happy holiday (and the perfect gift) from right under your front door. Thieves are looking for easy and quick opportunities. The harder you make it for them to get away undetected, the less likely they are to target your home. 

Here are some steps to take if you are on the receiving end of porch piracy.

May every package you order online make it safely to your home this holiday season.


EPB&B Presents Over $30,000 To Two Portland Non-Profits.

We gathered  the numbers and checked them twice and the outcome of our fifteenth Industry Holiday Open House was really REALLY nice. Yesterday we had the honor of presenting recordbreaking fundraising proceeds from last months Holiday Open House to this year’s non profit recipients, presenting each a check for  $15,310.00.  

It was with careful consideration that we chose this year’s recipients.   Children’s Healing Art Project: CHAP, provides innovative and inclusive healing arts programs free of charge to children, teens, and families affected by pediatric illness, disability, and special needs and  One Tail at a Time PDX,is  an organization dedicated to improving the lives of companion animals by providing humane, individualized care and a chance to know the comforts of a loving home through advocacy, education, and support of those in need.​ We couldn’t be more thrilled to support these two amazing organizations this year. 

“There are many great small local non profit organizations in the Portland area, “ says EPB&B President Marc Baker, “but the missions of CHAP and OTAT stood out to us this year, providing help and hope to those who are struggling.  They are good people doing amazing work.”  

We want to thank our twenty eight sponsors who donated so generously to the Baker Family Foundation  who in turn funneled the proceeds directly into these two EPB&B selected charities, and to the hundreds of our professional partners who showed up to the event and participated in the silent auction, games, food and fun, making this the most successful Industry Open House in EPB&B history. 

This event is proof that life changing  things happen when a community comes together for great causes.