The Write Portfolio

Tutor Doctor Provides Convenient, Affordable, and Quality Tutoring

By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Watching a child’s confidence plummet as he or she struggles with school work can make any parent feel like a failure. Even the most well-intended parent may not be the best teacher for their children, and students may even be resistant to parental assistance.

That’s where Tutor Doctor comes in. Tutor Doctor is a tutoring service that works like an old-fashioned doctor who makes house calls.

Ray Brauer, owner of the Huntsville franchise said, “What makes us different is the one-on-one in-home tutoring. We come to the student at a location that is convenient for them. It can be at the home, at the library, wherever is convenient for the family. Since the tutor is coming to the student, the tutoring time is very flexible. We can work around after-school activities or work schedules. The family is not limited to just the hours that a building is open, and the tutors are also available weekends.”

After an initial, free consultation, Tutor Doctor will make an evaluation of the student’s needs. The best method or approach will be selected to tailor-fit the student, and the best tutor will be hand-picked.

Ray noted that the tutors are very qualified and they know their subjects well. They go through detailed local and national background checks and are interviewed extensively.

“The tutors have great attitudes. They want the student to succeed—to do well—and they take it very personally,” Ray said, concern registering in his voice. He and his wife Karla have four children, so they understand the challenges of finding the best tutor for a child.

“We wanted to get into a business that helps other people, and Tutor Doctor is a great opportunity to help,” said Ray.

Subjects for elementary through college/adult-level include math, science, reading/language arts, foreign languages/ESL, enrichment, and entrance/placement exam preparation.

Tutor Doctor has a total of about 170 tutors. The Brauers also are happy to have a marketing professional, Sam Hollis, who has been with them since they first opened.

For more information, please call (256) 539-4200 or visit their web site at


Unto Others…A Business with a Heart
By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Amy Neil gently lifted a delicate necklace from its case. The sunshine from the windows of her home office reflected the gold and sent out shimmers of light.

The piece is a Landstrom’s Black Hills gold necklace that her grandmother gave her back when she graduated from high school. Originally, it had been her grandmother’s necklace.

A similar piece is still sold today, as well as other timeless treasures that she sells at her company, “Unto Others.” The company name is derived from the biblical Golden Rule, the premise of her company. The idea of “giving unto others” is important to Amy. “The other idea of starting up a little business is that I use the business to support different charitable functions when I can.” A page on her web site links to those organizations.

“The jewelry is so pretty, and it’s made in this country and has hand-carved elements. And I’m certainly sentimentally attached to it because of the family connection to it,” she said.
The history of the product has a tapestry woven with threads of Amy’s ancestry. Her great uncle, Ed Lampinen, was one of the original designers of the jewelry, which includes wedding ring sets, watches, earrings, men’s accessories, and much more.

The Black Hills gold, silver, and black enamel jewelry is still hand made in South Dakota. “It’s sort of a hallmark of South Dakota culture. All the Midwesterners know about it or are familiar with it,” said Amy.

The grape and leaf motifs are traditional to Landstrom’s design, as well as the rose and green alloy tinting that the gold is known for. Its unique manufacturing process can be seen on video at the “Unto Others” site.

Amy’s warm hospitality makes shopping at her home seem more like a visit with a good friend. “An advantage of working out of my home is that people can come over—if they’re comfortable—and take their time and look through stuff. And they’re not obligated to buy anything at all. They can just look and think about it.”
To see Amy’s collection, visit, or give her a call at (256) 656-0860.


Culture Abounds in Bucharest, Romania

By: Stephanie L. Robertson

James Bond rode the Orient Express through it in his 1960’s film version of “To Russia with Love.” The younger set will know it from the Xbox game, “Agent Under Fire: Streets Of Bucharest,” where the hero speeds through the streets of Bucharest in his quest for a missing data chip. The older set knows it as the site of the 2008 NATO Summit.

There is some dispute of how Bucharest was named. Some think that it was named after a shepherd named “Bucur,” which means “joy” when translated. Others think it was named after a fisherman.

In the 1900’s, it became known as “Little Paris” because of its busy night life. Befitting the Paris theme, the Arch of Triumph was built in 1922 to honor World War I veterans from Romania and their bravery. The 85-foot monument was designed by Petre Antonescu, and built of wood at first. In 1936, it was finished with Deva granite. Visitors can enjoy views from the city by climbing a staircase on the inside of the arch.

Other architectural feasts include some of the many Bucharest hotels. One such hotel is the Athenee Palace Hotel. Presently a Hilton, this Bucharest hotel was built in 1914 and designed by Teophile Bradeau, a French architect. The hotel became famous from the novel, Balkan Trilogy, written between 1956-1964 by Olivia Manning. In 1987, this series of books, set in World War II, were made into a seven-part television series starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson.

The National Art Museum (or Muzeul National de Arta,) is both an architectural and cultural site. It’s European Gallery contains lesser-known exhibits by, Monet, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Renoir, and El Greco.

For lovers of contemporary art, the National Museum of Contemporary Art
(Muzeul National de Arta Contemporana,) houses works by contemporary Romanians and also temporary exhibits by international artists.

There are many other museums in Bucharest, but one very unique museum is the Village Museum (Muzeul Satului), an outdoors museum by Lake Herastrau in Herestrau Park. This museum covers 30 acres and is the largest outdoor museum in Europe. The museum has 50 buildings that allow the visitor to see old village homes, barns (complete with thatched roofs) churches, and watermills.

A visit to Bucharest should be enjoyed and savored. Maybe not so much in a speeding luxury car a la James Bond or with the serious manner of a NATO summit, but with an appreciation of a very old city, its architecture, and certainly its culture.

Sources: and

Planning a Trip to Bucharest?
How to get there and where to stay
By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Looking for a bustling metropolis along with an intriguing history in Central Europe? Bucharest, Romania is a mix of both. According to The Encyclopedia of World Geography (2002), the population of Bucharest is 1,987,600; it is the largest city in Romania.

Where is Bucharest, and how do you get there? By air, rail, or car. Bucharest has two international airports: Henri Coandă International Airport (located approximately 10 miles north of Bucharest) and Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (approximately 8 miles north of Bucharest.) Travel by rail to Gara de Nord (North Station) from the main cities in Bucharest and international cities. Bucharest is also very easily accessible by car. Bucharest is known for its very wide boulevards, so a car is good for dashing around town, although it’s advised to avoid rush hour traffic and the potholes. You can also use Bucharest public transportation, namely the Bucharest Metro, buses, taxis, light rail, trolleybuses, and trams.

Stay at one of the many Bucharest hotels such as the oldest operating Bucharest hotel, Manuc’s Inn, built in 1808 and owned by an entrepreneur named Emanuel Mârzaian, also known as Manuc-bei (his Turkish name). If you are looking for a modern Bucharest hotel, try the Carol Parc Hotel. This glittering hotel was opened in 2007 and has been visited by the likes of famous people such as Beyonce and Deep Purple. It also houses a huge Murano crystal chandelier – the largest in the world at more than 4 stories in height

In Bucharest, you will enjoy the diverse tastes in dining. Although there are many delicious restaurants, you will want to go with Cina or La Mama for traditional Romanian dishes. Trattoria del Tatoli or Malagamba serves up tangy Italian food, and if you’re in the mood for a nice French Bistro, try La Bonne Bouche.

Bucharest enjoys a lower crime rate that many other capital cities in Europe. Pickpocketing seems to be common in public transportation, and, as always, check with the U.S. State Department’s travel advisories (

Sources: and

4 thoughts on “The Write Portfolio

  1. Stephanie, Amy Neil said you might be interested in helping me edit.write, ghost or we’ll talk & see. Please call (prefer) or email or text me for us to communicate. I need you ALL THS WEEK if possible.
    Will be in church activities today 9/21/14

    Bonnie Libhart, 256-652-3852

  2. Hi Stephanie. I just sent you a note about visiting here and it has been a lovely journey. Your photos are very nice and I like your compositions and the framing of your subject matter. What we do in terms of editing and enhancing can take a photo from good to extraordinary. I love my editing program on my Mac computer and so I never post a photo that hasn’t been worked on to bring out the best in it. Thanks for sending me here to see your work. Hugs, N 🙂 ❤ xox0

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