10 Tips for Better Mental Health

Many people understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. But, while many people focus on their physical health by jogging or working out, mental health is often overlooked or forgotten about.

We’re all busy, and taking steps to protect mental health can take time. It’s all too easy to de-prioritize mental health exercises when we have so much on our plates. However, your mental health is well worth the time and effort.

Here are a few things you can do to protect and strengthen your mental health.

10 tips for better mental health

 

 

#1. Be cognizant of thinking traps

Too often, we give our thoughts a lot more power than we should, allowing them to control us when we should be controlling them.

Gaining more control over your thoughts starts with paying attention to them and recognizing thoughts that don’t serve you. Here are a few examples of thinkings traps people often find themselves in:

  • All-or-nothing thinking
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Making overgeneralizations
  • Catastrophizing
  • Personalization

Once you begin to recognize when these unhealthy thought patterns come up, you can firmly and gently push them aside.

#2. Connect with others

While many of us are still spending a lot more time at home, that doesn’t mean that we should be isolating ourselves from the people we love.

Everyone needs people in their lives. We’re social creatures, even the most introverted of us. Even if it’s just close friends or family, it’s important to stay connected as much as you can.

You may or may not be able to see friends and family in person, but it’s important to make time to talk with them on the phone or schedule video calls with them.

#3. Breathe

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, one of the best ways to slow down your thinking and heart rate is by also slowing down your breathing.

Take a few minutes each day to relax, take long inhales and exhales, and focus on your breathing.

The more you practice, the better you’ll be able to maintain your focus and the more control you’ll have over your thoughts.

 

 

#4. Get good sleep

Good sleep is a crucial part of both mental and physical health, but many of us end up sacrificing good sleep.

Here are a few things you can do to sleep better at night:

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule
  • Take a break from looking at screens before bed
  • Drink less caffeine and alcohol

Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.

#5. Exercise regularly

Mental health and physical health go hand in hand, and you’d be surprised at what a difference a little exercise can make in how you feel.

Exercising causes the brain to release endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel good and help to reduce stress.

Make it a point to get a little bit of exercise every day. Even taking a simple walk each day can have a huge impact.

#6. Take a break from the news

Between the pandemic, unprecedented storms and weather events, political unrest and everything else going on, there’s a lot to keep track of in the world right now.

With so much going on, it can feel like you always have to be paying attention and staying up to date with it all, but giving yourself breaks is key.

The news can get overwhelming when you’re consuming it all the time. Limit your consumption to a few minutes each day so that you can stay in the know without stressing yourself out.

 

 

#7. Go outside

A lack of vitamin D can have a real impact on how you feel. That’s why people tend to feel down more often during the winter when they’re inside more. This is called seasonal affective disorder.

Weather permitting, try to get outside a little bit each day. Even a short walk each day can make a difference in how you feel.

When you’re unable to get outside, try bringing the outdoors in by growing indoor plants in your home.

#8. Give back

Sometimes, the best way to fill your cup is to first fill someone else’s.

When you’re feeling down or need a pick me up, try doing something for someone else. Giving back is one of the most effective ways to pick yourself up.

Giving back can mean all kinds of different things, from volunteering your time or making a donation to paying for someone else’s order in a drive-thru or helping out a friend.

#9. Eat well

How you eat, much like how well you sleep at night and how much you exercise, can play a part in how you feel physically and mentally.

Avoid eating too much sugar, which can leave you feeling tired and blah after the initial sugar high wears off, and limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume.

Also, drink more water throughout the day, and eat healthy meals and snacks to avoid the lethargy that comes with skipping meals or making unhealthy food choices.

 

 

#10. Get support

If you’re serious about building better mental health, one of the best things you can do is to work with a professional.

Working with a local therapist, psychiatrist or mental health care professional will give you more insight into your situation and different ideas on how to work through it.


If you’re looking for a therapist or psychiatrist near you, start your search with Top Rated Local®.

You can compare mental health professionals side by side, read therapist and psychiatrist reviews from across the web, see a snapshot of a mental health professional’s online reputation overall and more.

Find a mental health professional near you today.

Get a Healthier Smile With the Top 5 Dentists in Kansas

Dental health is too often overlooked, and far too many people only go to the dentist when there’s an emergency.

Your oral health goes beyond just having a great smile and stunning pearly whites. It actually plays a large part in how healthy you are overall.

Great oral health starts at home, with regularly brushing your teeth, flossing and drinking lots of water, but it’s also important to visit your local dentist every six months for a dental examination and teeth cleaning.

If you’re looking for a great local dentist in Kansas, you’re in luck, because we’ve recently announced our Top Rated Local® 2021 award winners for Kansas!

The top 5 dentists in Kansas for 2021

 

 

#1. Amazing Smiles Of Kansas City

Amazing Smiles Of Kansas City offers a variety of dental services, from teeth cleaning to oral surgery, to keep their patients’ smiles healthy and beautiful.

Amazing Smiles Of Kansas City has received 233 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.98 stars. Overall, Amazing Smiles Of Kansas City has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.81 and the honor of being the number one award winner for dentists in Kansas.

In addition to being the 2021 Top Rated Local number one award winner for dentists in Kansas, Amazing Smiles Of Kansas City has also won a Top Rated Local award for being one of the top 100 businesses in all of Kansas.

This is the second year in a row Amazing Smiles Of Kansas City has been a Top Rated Local award winner in Kansas.

Learn more about Amazing Smiles Of Kansas City!

#2. Sunflower Family Dentistry

Sunflower Family Dentistry serves Kansas City and provides family dental care in a relaxing, modern environment.

Sunflower Family Dentistry has received 32 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.97 stars. Overall, Sunflower Family Dentistry has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.72 and the honor of being the number two award winner for dentists in Kansas.

Sunflower Family Dentistry has also ranked among the top 100 businesses in all of Kansas for 2021.

Learn more about Sunflower Family Dentistry!

#3. Williams Family Dentistry

Williams Family Dentistry serves Overland Park and is dedicated to taking care of their patients’ dental needs with integrity.

Williams Family Dentistry has received 145 reviews across 7 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.96 stars. Overall, Williams Family Dentistry has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.56 and the honor of being the number three award winner for dentists in Kansas.

This is the second year Williams Family Dentistry has won a Top Rated Local award for dentists in Kansas, and the third year in a row Williams Family Dentistry has ranked among the top 100 businesses in the state.

Learn more about Williams Family Dentistry!

 

#4. Fullmer Matthew S DDS

Fullmer Matthew S DDS serves Topeka and offers personalized, gentle dental care to help his patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles.

Fullmer Matthew S DDS has received 535 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.95 stars. Overall, Fullmer Matthew S DDS has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.51 and the honor of being the number four award winner for dentists in Kansas.

In addition to winning a Top Rated Local award for dentists in Kansas, Fullmer Matthew S DDS has won a Top Rated Local award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the state.

Learn more about Fullmer Matthew S DDS!

#5. Jayhawk Dental

Jayhawk Dental serves Lawrence and offers comprehensive dental care and a gentle approach.

Jayhawk Dental has received 849 reviews across 7 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.95 stars. Overall, Jayhawk Dental has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.47 and the honor of being the number five award winner for dentists in Kansas.

This is the third year in a row Jayhawk Dental has won a Top Rated Local award for dentists in Kansas and a Top Rated Local award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the state.

Learn more about Jayhawk Dental!


Congratulations to all of the Top Rated Local award-winning dentists in Kansas for 2021! These dentists truly are the best of the best, and we salute their dedication to excellence in everything they do.

Learn about the other Top Rated Local award winners in Kansas for 2021.

Dental health is more than just about a pretty smile and white teeth. It plays a huge role in your overall health, too. Take your dental health seriously by turning to a dentist near you that you can trust.

With Top Rated Local, you can read dentist reviews from across the web, including Google, Yelp and beyond, compare dentists in your area side by side, get a snapshot of a dentist’s online reputation as a whole and more. It’s the ultimate way to find a local business you can trust.

Find a dentist near you today!

Want to have a chance to become a Top Rated Local award winner for dentists in Kansas in 2022? Master your reputation across the web with Marketing 360® Reputation. See plans and pricing.

How to Plan for a Smoother Cross-Country Move

Moving can be difficult no matter where you’re moving, but if you’re getting ready to embark on a long-distance move to a new state or city, it makes the process all the more difficult.

Keep reading to learn about a few things you can do to make your long-distance move a little easier.

10 tips for a smooth cross-country move

#1. Do your research

Moving across the country can be incredibly stressful, but having the right moving company on your side can make a world of difference in the peace of mind department. But, unfortunately, not all moving companies are made equal.

Take your time to do your research before committing to a mover. Read their reviews to see what kind of experiences their past customers have had, double-check that they are licensed and insured, and make sure they offer the services you need.

#2. Get multiple moving quotes

Once you’ve narrowed your list of long-distance movers down to two or three, you’ll want to get quotes from each mover before you sign any paperwork or a contract.

Getting multiple quotes will help to ensure that the rates you’re being asked to pay are in-line with other movers in your area. If the quotes are significantly lower or higher than average rates, ask why.

If their rates are super low, they may be new and just looking to build a customer base, or they may offer scaled-down services or are operating without a license. Either way, you need to know what you’re signing up for.

 

 

#3. Scale down your stuff

In most cases, the cost of hiring cross-country movers will depend on a number of factors, including how far you’re moving and how much your stuff weighs. The heavier the stuff, the more it will cost you to move.

Moving is a great time to go through your stuff and scale down, giving you a chance to get rid of some clutter and enjoy a fresh start in your new home. Best of all, it will make your move easier and more affordable.

#4. Pack boxes with care

When you’re moving to another home in your city or state, your belongings won’t have to travel far, and they won’t be in-transport for long. But, when it comes to long-distance moves, they have a lot farther to go.

Take your time and pack your boxes with care for your cross-country move. Wrap your fragile items in bubble wrap, and place soft items around them, like t-shirts and socks. If you’re not confident in your packing abilities, you can always let the professionals do it for you.

#5. Take an inventory

While you’re packing up your stuff (or while you’re going through your stuff to decide what to keep and what to donate), take an inventory of everything you’re going to ask your movers to move for you.

Knowing exactly what your movers will be moving will help to avoid complications later on. Take photos or videos of your items, and document the condition they’re in before moving. This is especially important for rare, expensive or otherwise important items.

 

 

#6. Label your boxes appropriately

Labeling your boxes is an important part of staying organized for any move, but it’s beneficial for long-distance moves in particular because it helps to make the second half of your move a whole lot smoother.

Whether your movers are unpacking for you or just moving boxes into your home for you, when you properly label your boxes, they’ll know exactly where everything is supposed to go. This will free up more of your time on moving day to do one of the many other things on your plate.

#7. Keep your travel essentials separate

Most of your stuff will go straight from your home to the truck, and from the truck to your new home. But, there are some things that you’ll need for your trip, and you’ll want them to be handy.

Pack a suitcase with what you’ll need while you’re traveling from point A to point B. Consider carrying your most valued possessions with you in your suitcase, if possible. Accidents can happen even with the best moving companies.

#8. Make travel arrangements in advance

Long-distance moves are often complicated, and there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of. Between selling your old home, buying your new home, hiring movers, planning your life in a new city and everything else that comes with a long-distance move, it’s easy to forget things.

One important thing you absolutely don’t want to forget is to make travel arrangements for yourself and your family. Are you planning to fly or drive? Do you have pets or kids to consider? Will you need to ship your vehicle? These are all things you’ll need to think about well in advance.

 

 

#9. Prepare your pet for your move

Pets add a new dimension of stress to any move, but moving pets can be especially complicated when it comes to long-distance moves.

Not only do you need to figure out how your pet will travel to your new home, but you also need to make arrangements with your veterinarian for the move and get a copy of your pet’s health records. Also, do some research about pet laws in your new city.

#10. Wrap up the loose ends

There are a lot of extra steps involved when you’re moving to a new state or city. You’ll need to do all of the normal things, like change your address at the Post Office, with your bank, etc., but you also may need to get a new driver’s license, find a new doctor, etc.

But, before you start arranging the next chapter in your life in your new city, you’ll need to wrap things up in your old one. This includes scheduling a date to shut off your utilities, canceling gym memberships and collecting your personal records.


Looking for the right long-distance mover near you? Start your search with Top Rated Local®.

With Top Rated Local, you can read mover reviews from across the web, including Yelp, Angie’s List, Google and beyond, compare movers side by side, catch a glimpse of a mover’s online reputation overall and so much more.

Find a Top Rated Local mover near you today.

How to Find the Right CPA Near You

Tax season is almost here. Dun, dun, dun!

Although it’s a dreaded time for many, tax season doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right CPA or accounting firm on your side, you can rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands.

Of course, you could do your taxes yourself, and there are plenty of programs that make it easy. However, there are many reasons why you might want to consider hiring a tax professional. If working with an accounting firm is the right option for your needs, you’ll want to ensure that you find the right one.

There’s a lot on the line when it comes to hiring a CPA. Working with the right CPA could make the difference between owing money and getting a tax refund, so it’s worth your time to be mindful about who you hire.

6 tips for finding the right CPA

 

 

#1. Figure out what kind of tax specialist you need

Before you start your search for a CPA, you need to know exactly what kind of tax specialist you’ll need. If your situation isn’t too complicated, you probably don’t need to worry too much about finding a CPA who specializes in anything in particular. On the other hand, if you’re facing a complicated situation, like an audit, you need a tax specialist who can get you through it.

CPAs are just one type of tax professional you could choose to work with. If you’re preparing a tax return for an estate, you may need to consult a tax attorney. Or, if the situation you’re dealing with is overly complex, an EA (Enrolled Agent), who has to pass rigorous tests, can help with things, like audits and collection actions.

#2. Know where to look

Finding a CPA can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to look. As I said, there’s a lot on the line when hiring a tax specialist, as it affects whether or not you get a refund, as well as how much that refund is. There are a lot of places you could look for a CPA, but only a couple of places you should look.

With so much at stake, you don’t want to risk looking for a CPA in the phone book or in even in a Google search, at least without further research. One of the best places to start in your search for a local CPA is a personal recommendation from a friend or coworker. The one downside to this, though, is that a personal recommendation is only about one CPA and only gives you a glimpse of one experience.

Searching for a CPA with Top Rated Local® will allow you to get an instant look at several accounting firms’ overall online reputations and compare them side by side. You’ll also be able to read a firm’s reviews across all of the verified sites it’s listed on.

#3. Pick the right size firm

The general rule is that the bigger the accounting firm, the more likely it will have higher fees and have less time to dedicate to working on your return. That’s not to say that it’s never a good idea to hire a bigger accounting firm, but you’re likely to get more personalized service if you work with a local tax professional.

On the other hand, small accounting firms may not have the diverse talent and experience necessary to get through your return if it’s complicated. In this situation, you might be better off choosing a bigger firm.

 

 

#4. Verify that they have a PTIN

Anyone who is compensated for preparing income taxes, or assisting in preparing income taxes is required by the IRS to have a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). Keep in mind that this doesn’t apply to someone who has volunteered to help you prepare your taxes. But, if you’re paying someone to do your taxes, you’ll need to ensure that they have a PTIN because they’ll need to include it on your tax return.

#5. Ask the right questions

Before you commit to working with someone to do your taxes, you need to speak with them ahead of time. This could be done through an email, over the phone or in person. When you speak with them, make sure that you ask the right questions. These include:

  • How much experience do you have working with people in my situation?
  • Do you specialize in any tax issues in particular?
  • Does the work get done by you personally or your in-house assistants, or does it get outsourced?
  • How are your fees calculated — flat fee, hourly or another rate option?
  • Are your fees negotiable?
  • Approximately how long do you expect it to take for you to finish my taxes?

#6. Watch out for red flags

There are many different CPAs out there who you could choose to work with. Often, you can tell if someone isn’t right for your needs right off the bat when you know which red flags to watch out for. Here are a few common ones:

  • They promise that you’ll get a big refund before even looking at your information.
  • They promise that they can get you a bigger return than other tax professionals
  • They promise that you’ll be able to make certain deductions before looking at your information
  • Their fee is a percentage of your refund
  • They’re not prepared to provide you with support if you’re audited
  • They don’t have the appropriate credentials

Find the right CPA with Top Rated Local!

When you’re ready to search for a CPA near you, start with Top Rated Local. You’ll be able to find the best-reviewed accounting firms in your area, compare them side by side, read CPA reviews from across the web from one place and more. Find a local CPA near you today!

Originally published 2/26/20

Work With South Carolina’s Top 5 Home Contractors

We’ve all been spending a lot more time at home lately, and if your home is too small, too crowded or just uncomfortable, it makes staying home that much more difficult.

The good news is that there are a lot of amazing home contractors out there who can help.

Whether you’re interested in maximizing your existing home by remodeling or adding a new addition or you want to build a new home from the ground up, working with the right home contractor can help you get the home of your dreams.

If you’re looking for a great local home contractor in South Carolina, you’re in luck, because we’ve recently announced our Top Rated Local® 2021 award winners for South Carolina!

South Carolina’s top 5 home contractors for 2021

#1. SHELTER Custom-Built Living

SHELTER Custom-Built Living serves Charleston and offers beautiful, innovative custom-built homes with an honest, straight-forward approach.

SHELTER Custom-Built Living has received 59 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 5.00 stars. Overall, SHELTER Custom-Built Living has earned a Rating Score™ of 100.00 and the honor of being the number one award winner for home contractors in South Carolina.

In addition to being the 2021 Top Rated Local number one award winner for home contractors in South Carolina, SHELTER Custom-Built Living has also won a Top Rated Local award for being one of the top 100 businesses in all of South Carolina.

This is the third year in a row SHELTER Custom-Built Living has been the Top Rated Local number one award winner for home contractors and a top 100 award winner in South Carolina.

Learn more about SHELTER Custom-Built Living!

#2. Wheelhouse Construction, LLC

Wheelhouse Construction, LLC serves Greenville and provides first-class custom home building and renovation services.

Wheelhouse Construction, LLC has received 44 reviews across 7 different verified review sites with an average rating of 5.00 stars. Overall, Wheelhouse Construction, LLC has earned a Rating Score™ of 100.00 and the honor of being the number two award winner for home contractors in South Carolina.

This is the second year in a row that Wheelhouse Construction, LLC has won a Top Rated Local award for home contractors in South Carolina, and this year, they’ve also ranked among the top 100 businesses in the state!

Learn more about Wheelhouse Construction, LLC!

#3. Commonwealth Contracting, LLC

Commonwealth Contracting, LLC serves Charleston and offers custom home building, as well as remodeling, renovations and home additions.

Commonwealth Contracting, LLC has received 275 reviews across 4 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.99 stars. Overall, Commonwealth Contracting, LLC has earned a Rating Score™ of 97.87 and the honor of being the number three award winner for home contractors in South Carolina.

This is the second year in a row Commonwealth Contracting, LLC has won a Top Rated Local award for home contractors in South Carolina.

Learn more about Commonwealth Contracting, LLC!

#4. Structures Building Company

Structures Building Company serves Charleston and is dedicated to building custom homes with unmatched quality and craftsmanship.

Structures Building Company has received 76 reviews across 4 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.99 stars. Overall, Structures Building Company has earned a Rating Score™ of 97.87 and the honor of being the number four award winner for home contractors in South Carolina.

This is the first year Structures Building Company has won a Top Rated Local award for home contractors in South Carolina.

Learn more about Structures Building Company!

#5. Paul L Johnson Interiors

Paul L Johnson Interiors serves Greenville and offers award-winning interior remodeling services.

Paul L Johnson Interiors has received 48 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.70 stars. Overall, Paul L Johnson Interiors has earned a Rating Score™ of 96.98 and the honor of being the number five award winner for home contractors in South Carolina.

This is the first year Paul L Johnson Interiors has won a Top Rated Local award for home contractors in South Carolina.

Learn more about Paul L Johnson Interiors!


Congratulations to all of the Top Rated Local award-winning home contractors in South Carolina for 2021! These home contractors truly are the best of the best, and we salute their dedication to excellence in everything they do.

Learn about the other Top Rated Local award winners in South Carolina for 2021.

We’re all spending a lot more time at home than we used to. Work with the Top Rated Local home contractors in your area to build or remodel the home of your dreams.

With Top Rated Local, you can read home contractor reviews from across the web, including Google, Yelp and beyond, compare home contractors side by side, get a snapshot of a home contractor’s online reputation as a whole and more. It’s the ultimate way to find a local business you can trust.

Find a home contractor near you today!

Want to have a chance to become a Top Rated Local award winner for home contractors in South Carolina in 2022? Master your reputation across the web with Marketing 360® Reputation. See plans and pricing.

6 Tips for Planning a Safe, Romantic Valentine’s Day in 2021

For more than a year now, life, as we know it, has changed dramatically. Holidays, unfortunately, have been no exception, and the pandemic has forced us to rethink how we celebrate.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and a pandemic shouldn’t stop you from celebrating your love, whether it’s brand new or long-established. But, that doesn’t mean that you should throw caution to the wind and give up all of the precautions you’ve taken to stay safe.

There are lots of ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day and celebrate it with the one you love while also minimizing your risk and staying safe.

How to plan a safe, romantic Valentine’s Day during a pandemic

#1. Order in

During a normal year, Valentine’s day is the perfect day to reserve a table at your favorite romantic spot and enjoy the hustle and bustle of dining out. But, this year, consider celebrating in a more intimate setting — your own home!

Eating at home means that you and your partner can enjoy each other’s company in a setting where you can actually hear each other talk! But, just because you’re eating at home doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite dishes.

Support a restaurant near you by ordering carry-out or delivery. You’ll enjoy a delicious, one-on-one meal with your partner while also supporting a hard-working local restaurant.

#2. Treat your special someone

We could all use a little rest and relaxation about now, and if you’re looking for something great to give your special someone this year, why not pamper them a little this year? Or, better yet, why not pamper you both?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Schedule an in-home couple’s massage with your local massage therapist
  • Book an appointment at your local nail or hair salon for a spruce up
  • Take a relaxing yoga class together online
  • Support your local florist and fill your home with fresh flowers
  • Order something sweet from your community bakery

Indulging in a little pampering will leave you both feeling rejuvenated and help you make the most of your Valentine’s Day.

#3. Do something new

Our shared experiences are what bring us together, and if you’re looking for a great way to get close to your partner this Valentine’s Day, trying something new together can work wonders.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Take an online cooking class and learn how to make something new
  • Take an online fitness class you’ve never done before
  • Try a new hobby that you’re both interested in, like building a diorama or baking
  • Play a board game or video game you’ve never played before

Doing something new together will help to make this Valentine’s Day memorable. Plus, it gives you something new to talk about, which can be a challenge for couples who have been staying home together!

#4. Rekindle the flame

If you’re looking to turn up the heat this Valentine’s Day, why not take the literal approach by cozying up next to a fire?

Sitting by a fire is the perfect way to relax, unwind and get warm, and it has the added benefit of being a great outdoor activity. This is ideal if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with someone who isn’t in your bubble.

Whether you’re lighting the fire in your fireplace or outdoor fire pit, bring the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers for a fun, cozy evening getting toasty by the fire.

#5. Go one a romantic retreat

Need to get out of the house for a while? I don’t blame you. I think we could all use a vacation these days. But, vacation doesn’t have to mean flying across the world and laying on a beach.

There are plenty of places nearby where you could enjoy a romantic retreat with your partner, even if it’s just for a day or two. Personal vacation rentals are a fun, affordable way to get away from it all.

Alternatively, you could book a stay at a local bed and breakfast or hotel in the next town over. You don’t need to go far to feel like you’re getting a vacation!

#6. Connect in the great outdoors

Indoor activities can be a little riskier when you’re spending Valentine’s Day with someone who isn’t in your bubble, Luckily, there are plenty of great outdoor activities you can do that will help you get to know each other better and enjoy each other’s company.

It’s cold out, but as long as it’s not too cold (i.e. if you’re in one of the many places hit by a giant snowstorm, it’s probably best to stay in!), you could bundle up and enjoy lots of great outdoor activities. Here are a few cold-weather ideas:

Visit an outdoor ice skating rink

  • Go snowshoeing
  • Ride down a nearby hill on sleds
  • Build a snowman or have a snowball fight

If it’s warm enough where you are, you could:

  • Go on a hike or a long walk
  • Grab takeout from your favorite local restaurant and have a picnic
  • Play a round or two of mini-golf or hit the batting cages
  • Ride bikes or go rollerskating

Whether your plan for this Valentine’s Day is to get carry-out from a romantic restaurant, schedule an at-home couple’s massage or surprise your partner with jewelry or flowers, start your local business search with Top Rated Local®.

With Top Rated Local, you can compare the highest-rated local businesses in your area side by side, read a local business’s reviews from across the web, get a glimpse of a business’s overall online reputation and more.

Make the most of Valentine’s Day 2021, and support the amazing local businesses near you!

How to Find the Right Roofer

When you hire a roofer, it’s important to get it right

Your roof isn’t a small thing. In fact, it’s probably the most important part of your home from a safety and protection standpoint. So, when you’re in need of roofing services, you need to turn to a roofing company that you can rely on to get the job done right the first time.

Hiring a roofing contractor isn’t like hiring a carpet cleaner or a painter. If the job doesn’t get done correctly with one of these contractors, it’s frustrating and will probably look bad, but at the end of the day, no one is in danger or at risk.

But, that’s not the case with your roof. If a roofer makes a mistake, the consequences can be much, much bigger. That’s why you should never settle when it comes to hiring a roofing contractor.

Hiring the right roofer for the job takes a little more time and research than hiring almost any other contractor or local business. Top Rated Local® is here to help!

5 tips on finding the right roofer

#1. Work with a local roofing company

There are countless horror stories out there of homeowners who hired a roofer that offered a five-year warranty, only for that roofer to be nowhere to be found when they actually need them. Unfortunately, roofing is one of those industries where scams are common, but one of the best ways to avoid a roofing scam is to hire a company that has a long history of serving your community.

Another reason why hiring local is beneficial is that a local roofer will understand the unique issues that affect roofs in your area. Whether your roof is prone to algae growth, hail damage or wind damage, a local roofer will understand that, and they’ll be able to better prepare your roof for those kinds of common problems.

When I say to hire a local roofing contractor, that doesn’t mean hiring someone that just operates locally. You want to hire a local contractor that has an established reputation in your community.

#2. Double-check that they are licensed and insured

You want a roofer that has experience, knowledge and expertise, but equally as important, you want a roofer who is both licensed and insured to do the job. And, while you may have to take a roofing company’s word when it comes to their skill and knowledge, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) take their word when it comes to licensing and insurance.

In order to become licensed, a roofer must go through training that teaches them how to do inspections and perform services safely and effectively. Maintaining that licensing also takes work, and any repairs or installations have to meet current building codes. Licensed roofers also follow safety standards, and many of them offer warranties and contracts that help to protect homeowners like you.

Roofing isn’t exactly the safest job, and accidents happen even with the best of roofing companies. If the contractor you’ve hired doesn’t have insurance, you could be the one financially liable for any injuries that occur on the job. Always make sure that any roofer you hire is insured!

#3. Don’t look at the cost alone

Roofing services aren’t exactly cheap, and when you’re in need of roof repairs or a replacement, you might be tempted to simply accept the lowest bid for the job without doing any further research. However, this could potentially be a huge mistake, and while it’s important to consider the cost, it’s certainly not the only thing you should consider.

If a roofing company offers much lower rates than what’s typical in your area, there’s probably a reason for it. Roofers that don’t have a lot of experience or don’t have a strong reputation in their community tend to low-ball when it comes to cost, but chances are, that cost-savings will result in the sacrifice of quality.

Where roofing is concerned, you get what you pay for. That’s not to say that you should automatically choose the highest bid, either, but if a bid is significantly lower than the rest, it’s a red flag.

#4. Find a roofer who shows instead of tells

Roofing services are a lot like automotive repairs in that roofers and auto mechanics know a lot more about the subject matter at hand than your average homeowner or driver. That means that you need to be able to trust the roofer you hire to work with integrity and honesty, and to help you make the right decisions regarding your roof.

Beware of any roofer that tries to sell you a solution without fully explaining the problem or all of the potential solutions to choose from. Any roofer you hire should help to inform you so that you can make the right decision, and that often means showing instead of telling. And, they definitely shouldn’t just make the decision for you.

#5. Read reviews

Every roofer you talk to and every roofing website you visit is going to tell you that they are the best in the business. They’re all going to claim to offer great service and to get the job done right the first time.

However, not every roofer can be the best, and not every roofing company will do what it claims on its website. The only way to know for sure what working with a roofer is really like is to learn what their past clients have said.

Reading reviews is a great rule of thumb to keep in mind when hiring any local business, but it’s especially important when there’s so much on the line. If the roofing contractor has a reputation for leaving jobs unfinished, making mistakes or leaving their clients high and dry when they need them, reading their reviews will help you avoid them.

Find a roofer near you with Top Rated Local®

When you look for a roofing contractor with Top Rated Local, you’ll be able to read each roofing company’s reviews from across the web and compare its overall reputation to the competition.

It’s the only place where you can learn about a roofing company’s online reputation overall without having to visit tons of review sites and directories. There’s a reason why it’s become the go-to local business directory and review site.

Find a local roofer near you today!

Originally published on 3/13/20

Turn to New Jersey’s Top 5 Veterinarians

For many people, pets are more than just pets. They’re valued members of the family, and you only want the best for them.

When your pet is injured, sick or needs preventative care, you need to know that there’s a veterinarian near you that you can trust.

If you’re in New Jersey, you’re in luck, because we’ve recently announced our 2021 Top Rated Local awards for New Jersey. Keep reading to learn about the highest-rated veterinarian in the state.

New Jersey’s top 5 veterinarians in 2021

#1. West Trenton Animal Hospital

West Trenton Animal Hospital serves Trenton and offers veterinary care to cats and dogs in a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility.

West Trenton Animal Hospital has received 1,211 reviews across 6 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.91 stars. Overall, West Trenton Animal Hospital has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.15 and the honor of being the number one award winner for veterinarians in New Jersey.

In addition to being the 2021 Top Rated Local number one award winner for veterinarians in New Jersey,

This is the third year in a row West Trenton Animal Hospital has been the Top Rated Local number one award winner for veterinarians in New Jersey. They’ve also been ranked among the top 100 businesses in the entire state every year since 2019!

Learn more about West Trenton Animal Hospital!

#2. Edinburg Animal Hospital

Edinburg Animal Hospital serves Trenton and provides warm, high-quality veterinary care, from vaccinations and medical services to microchipping and surgery.

Edinburg Animal Hospital has received 307 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.78 stars. Overall, Edinburg Animal Hospital has earned a Rating Score™ of 97.81 and the honor of being the number two award winner for veterinarians in New Jersey.

This is the third year in a row that Edinburg Animal Hospital has won a Top Rated Local award for veterinarians in New Jersey!

Learn more about Edinburg Animal Hospital!

#3. Blue Cross Dog & Cat Hospital

Blue Cross Dog & Cat Hospital serves Paterson and strives to provide honest, trustworthy veterinary services to the pets in their care.

Blue Cross Dog & Cat Hospital has received 1,494 reviews across 4 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.94 stars. Overall, Blue Cross Dog & Cat Hospital has earned a Rating Score™ of 97.38 and the honor of being the number three award winner for veterinarians in New Jersey.

This is the second year in a row Blue Cross Dog & Cat Hospital has won a Top Rated Local award for veterinarians in New Jersey.

Learn more about Blue Cross Dog & Cat Hospital!

#4. Valley Animal Hospital

Valley Animal Hospital serves Clifton and goes above and beyond to provide compassionate care for their patients.

Valley Animal Hospital has received 797 reviews across 4 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.93 stars. Overall, Valley Animal Hospital has earned a Rating Score™ of 97.26 and the honor of being the number four award winner for veterinarians in New Jersey.

This is the third year in a row Valley Animal Hospital has won a Top Rated Local award for veterinarians in New Jersey.

Learn more about Valley Animal Hospital!

#5. Veterinary Wellness Center Of Glen Rock

Veterinary Wellness Center Of Glen Rock serves Paterson and offers a white glove approach to veterinary care.

Veterinary Wellness Center Of Glen Rock has received 110 reviews across 2 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.93 stars. Overall, Veterinary Wellness Center Of Glen Rock has earned a Rating Score™ of 93.35 and the honor of being the number five award winner for veterinarians in New Jersey.

This is the second year Veterinary Wellness Center Of Glen Rock has also won a Top Rated Local award for veterinarians in New Jersey.

Learn more about Veterinary Wellness Center Of Glen Rock!


Congratulations to all of the Top Rated Local award-winning veterinarians in New Jersey for 2021! These veterinarians truly are the best of the best, and we salute their dedication to excellence in everything they do.

Learn about the other Top Rated Local award winner in New Jersey for 2021.

Your pet is a very important part of your family. Rest easy knowing that your fur baby is in the very best hands, and start your search for a veterinarian near you with Top Rated Local.

With Top Rated Local, you can read veterinarian reviews from across the web, including Google, Yelp and beyond, compare veterinarians side by side, get a snapshot of a veterinarian’s online reputation as a whole and more. It’s the ultimate way to find a local business you can trust.

Find a veterinarian near you today!

Want to have a chance to become a Top Rated Local award winner for veterinarians in New Jersey in 2022? Master your reputation across the web with Marketing 360® Reputation. See plans and pricing.

Winter Nail Care Tips to Combat Brittleness

Winter is here (and boy, would Ned Stark be glad!). It’s cold out, we’ve all got our heaters on and there’s a lot less moisture in the air. This has major repercussions for our hair, our skin and, yes, even our nails.

Dry, brittle nails are prone to breaking and peeling. Hangnails are another deeply unpleasant impact that the dry air can have on our nails, and the skin around them.

The winter can cause havoc on your nails, but the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to combat nail brittleness during the winter months.

How to combat nail brittleness this winter

#1. Moisturize often

Hand lotions, creams and ointments are your number one defense against the cold, dry air (at least where dryness is concerned). And, you should use the weapon of your choice (lotion, cream or ointment) liberally and often.

Lotion is probably the least moisturizing option, but it has the added benefit of soaking into your hands quickly, which makes it convenient when you need to moisturize quickly between tasks. Creams and ointments are thicker and take longer to soak in, but seal in moisture more effectively. They’re fantastic to use right before bed.

In addition to using a moisturizer throughout the day, make it a point to use a cuticle ointment at least once a day, as well, but preferably once in the morning and once at night. It’s especially important to use cuticle oil if you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

As there’s a global pandemic happening right now, most of us are washing our hands a lot more often than we normally would. That leads to even more dryness for your hands and nails. But, it’s an easy fix if you make it a habit to moisturize after every hand-wash. At the very least, aim to moisturize at least three times per day.

#2. Keep your nails painted

There are many things that can damage and dry out your nails during the winter. Dry air, harsh hand soaps and detergents and even water can all be harmful to nail health. Surprisingly enough, one easy and effective way to protect them is by simply keeping them painted.

Painting your nails looks fabulous, but even better than that, it adds an additional layer of protection between your nails and the many things that can damage them. Always start with a base coat and finish with a top coat for a longer-lasting manicure or pedicure and more protection.

Look for a base coat that will help to protect your nails without making them harder. Nail strengtheners work, but the key to healthy nails during the winter is to keep them flexible. The harder your nails are, the more prone they are to breakage.

#3. Give yourself a break from acrylic nails

Acrylic nails look awesome. There’s no doubt about that. However, they aren’t always the best option where nail health is concerned, especially when your nails are already compromised during the winter.

If you prefer acrylic nails, consider getting a regular manicure in between acrylics to give your natural nails time to breathe. Furthermore, always make sure that you get your acrylic nails both applied and removed by a professional.

While acrylic nails themselves can make your natural nails prone to peeling, the most damage tends to occur when people try to remove their acrylic nails on their own.

#4. Keep your nails trimmed shorter

Long nails look great, but what’s even more important than having long nails is having healthy nails. And, unfortunately, longer nails tend to snag, rip and break a lot more often than shorter nails do and are susceptible to brittleness.

Another good reason to keep your nails trimmed is that it’s harder to keep long nails clean. Dirt and bacteria can easily hide under long nails, especially when they’re painted, and can spread infection. Keeping your nails trimmed is just as important for preventing nail brittleness as it is for overall health.

Use clean, sharp tools to trim your nails. In general, nail scissors and nail nippers are easier to use and will stay sharper than nail clippers. However, no matter which tools you use, make sure to invest in high-quality nail trimming tools for the best results.

#5. Use an acetone-based polish remover

When it’s time for a new coat of paint on your nails and you need to remove your color, you want to choose the right nail polish remover. Under normal circumstances, it’s best to avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone, but the winter months are an exception.

Acetone-based nail polish removers are actually a better option during the winter because they work faster, which means that your nails won’t be exposed to the remover as long.

However, regardless of which nail polish remover you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you take the time to nourish your nails and cuticles after use by washing your hands, moisturizing and using cuticle oil.

#6. Maintain a healthy diet

Nail health is impacted by all kinds of things, and not all of them are external. Believe it or not, the health of your nails also has a lot to do with your lifestyle, particularly what you eat and how much water you drink.

For healthy nails, make sure to get plenty of protein and vitamin B in your diet. Beans, bananas, nuts, spinach, fish and lean poultry are all foods that can help to support healthy nails. It’s also important to avoid consuming too much sugar, salt and caffeine.

Externally, water can be damaging to your nails, but internally, it’s a critical part of maintaining nail health. Make sure you drink plenty of water each day — shoot for drinking at least 6 8-oz glasses of water each day.


Regular visits to a local nail salon can help to keep your nails healthy and looking great, and if you’re looking for a nail salon near you, you’ve come to the right place.

Top Rated Local® makes it easy to find a nail salon you can trust. You can also get a glimpse of a nail salon’s online reputation overall, read nail salon reviews from across the web, compare nail salons in your area side by side and so much more.

Find a nail salon near you today!

Trust Your Vehicle to Alaska’s Top 5 Auto Shops

Most of us depend on having a working vehicle every day to get us to work, school, the grocery store and a whole host of other places. And, when your vehicle is in need of repair or maintenance, you want to ensure it’s in the best possible hands.

Finding an auto shop you can trust will give you peace of mind. And, if you’re in Alaska, you’re in luck because we’ve recently announced our Top Rated Local® awards for 2021.

Keep reading to learn about the highest-rated auto shops in all of Alaska to entrust your vehicle to.

Alaska’s top 5 auto shops in 2021

#1. Metropolitan Garage

Metropolitan Garage serves Fairbanks and offers friendly auto repair and maintenance services from ASE Certified Master Technicians.

Metropolitan Garage has received 402 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.96 stars. Overall, Metropolitan Garage has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.63 and the honor of being the number one award winner for auto shops in Alaska.

In addition to being the 2021 Top Rated Local number one award winner for auto shops in Alaska, Metropolitan Garage has also won an award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the entire state!

Learn more about Metropolitan Garage!

#2. A&A The Shop

A&A The Shop serves Anchorage and is an independent Subaru service shop that offers Subaru drivers an alternative to dealership services, including maintenance, diagnostics and repairs.

A&A The Shop has received 326 reviews across 6 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.67 stars. Overall, A&A The Shop has earned a Rating Score™ of 96.72 and the honor of being the number two award winner for auto shops in Alaska.

This is the third year in a row that A&A The Shop has won a Top Rated Local award for auto shops in Alaska!

Learn more about A&A The Shop!

#3. All Service Automotive

All Service Automotive serves Anchorage and provides a wide variety of auto services, from alignments to engine maintenance.

All Service Automotive has received 33 reviews across 4 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.80 stars. Overall, All Service Automotive has earned a Rating Score™ of 96.00 and the honor of being the number three award winner for auto shops in Alaska.

This is the second time All Service Automotive has won a Top Rated Local award for auto shops in Alaska, and in 2019, they also won an award for ranking among the top 100 businesses in the state.

Learn more about All Service Automotive!

#4. Knik Tire & Auto

Knik Tire & Auto serves Wasilla and is a full-service auto repair and maintenance shop.

Knik Tire & Auto has received 87 reviews across 4 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.74 stars. Overall, Knik Tire & Auto has earned a Rating Score™ of 95.43 and the honor of being the number four award winner for auto shops in Alaska.

This is the second year in a row Knik Tire & Auto has won a Top Rated Local award for auto shops in Alaska.

Learn more about Knik Tire & Auto!

#5. Wasilla Lube Express

Wasilla Lube Express serves Wasilla and makes it a point to stay up to date on the latest auto repair standards in order to best serve their customers.

Wasilla Lube Express has received 205 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.67 stars. Overall, Wasilla Lube Express has earned a Rating Score™ of 94.70 and the honor of being the number five award winner for auto shops in Alaska.

This is the first year Wasilla Lube Express has also won a Top Rated Local award for auto shops in Alaska.

Learn more about Wasilla Lube Express!


Congratulations to all of the Top Rated Local award-winning auto shops in Alaska for 2021! These auto shops truly are the best of the best, and we salute their dedication to excellence in everything they do.

Learn about the other Top Rated Local award winner in Alaska for 2021.

You rely on your vehicle to get you from point A to point B each and every day. Rest easy knowing that your vehicle is in the very best hands, and start your search for an auto shop near you with Top Rated Local.

With Top Rated Local, you can read auto shop reviews from across the web, including Google, Yelp and beyond, compare auto shops side by side, get a snapshot of an auto shop’s online reputation as a whole and more. It’s the ultimate way to find a local business you can trust.

Find an auto shop near you today!

Want to have a chance to become a Top Rated Local award winner for auto shops in Alaska in 2022? See plans and pricing.