Thursday, February 18, 2016

New Shopping in Downtown Ruston

by Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

Downtown serves as the heart of Ruston, offering local eats, live entertainment, and fun events. However, one of the biggest draws of downtown is the shopping. The downtown district offers a truly impressive variety of shops, and each year shopping options continue to expand with more shops picking downtown as their home. 

Most recently, Downtown Ruston has gained three unique shops that are creating quite the buzz around town. Read more about these exciting new additions to our historic downtown below. 

Vintage & Vogue
This neat little shop located at 103 N. Trenton St. is quickly becoming a gem of Downtown Ruston. Vintage & Vogue offers an assortment of unique antique items, as well as hand-crafted jewelry, bow ties, treats and more. Not to mention their customer service is out of this world. If you're looking for a great gift, then definitely visit Vintage & Vogue! They are open Monday-Saturday from 10:30 am - 5:30 pm.

Vintage & Vogue, Downtown Ruston
Vintage & Vogue offers exceptional customer service
Hart jewelry available at Vintage & Vogue

Cotton Top Print Shop
Cotton Top is a unique print shop located at 118 W. Park Ave. right across from Railroad Park. They offer custom screen printing and graphic design, and everything they sell is handmade or designed by the Cotton Top team. In the store you'll find handmade jewelry by Deanna's Treasures, photography by Shawn Hood, and tees designed in-house. If you need a custom design or want a Ruston souvenir, Cotton Top is the place to go! They are open Monday-Friday from 10 am - 6 pm and Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm.

Ruston-inspired shirt available at Cotton Top
Cotton Top Print Shop, Downtown Ruston

Photography available at Cotton Top

This quaint record store located at 111 E. Mississippi Ave. has been a wonderful addition to the downtown district. With Ruston growing as a music and arts community, Day Old Blues has added a different and exciting element to the local arts culture. In the record store, you'll find an impressive assortment of music genres, as well as a few turn tables. The atmosphere is exactly what you would expect with vinyl playing in the background nonstop. While they are still tweaking hours, they are currently open Tuesday-Saturday from 11am-6pm.  

Day Old Blues Records, Downtown Ruston
A sample of the records available at Day Old Blues

Make sure you take some time to check out these new downtown shops next time you're in Ruston, and let us know what you think!

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Locals Love It: The Fashion of Ruston

Written by Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

Locals always tend to know the best places to eat, shop, explore, and have fun in a town. They know the ins and outs of the area and prove to be ideal advice-givers for visitors. For this reason, we recently asked Ruston locals about their favorite restaurants, shops, attractions, etc. in town that go above and beyond to make an experience truly exceptional. 

One of the places that locals can't seem to get enough of is The Fashion of RustonLocated in historic downtown, The Fashion of Ruston is a quaint and elegant boutique with a trendy edge that has provided current fashions to women in Ruston for over 60 years. 

The Fashion of Ruston
Photo via

Locals Love the Atmosphere
You can’t help but notice the store’s gorgeous ceiling, exposed brick walls or the statement lighting piece that hangs above the register. With upbeat music and tons of natural light, the store has an airy feel that makes looking around and shopping an enjoyable experience. The Fashion even provides a few tables and chairs in their gorgeous carriageway for those customers who want to sit and relax on a pretty day. 

Trina Turk Gemma clutch from The Fashion
Photo via
Locals Love the Merchandise
This boutique carries a wide variety of women’s apparel, shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories and gifts. You can find some of the most popular styles from leading designers at The Fashion. Featured designers include: BCBG, Ivy & Blu, Rebecca Minkoff, Sanctuary Clothing, Kendra Scott and more. Whether you need a dress for a wedding, a fun shirt for the weekend or a more professional outfit for work, The Fashion is a great go-to for all ages. They also carry Niven Morgan products, several perfumes and other various beauty products.

The Fashion of Ruston staff
Photo via
Locals Love the Friendly Staff 
Although they have an incredible atmosphere and stylish merchandise, the thing locals seem to love most about The Fashion is their enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful staff. This dynamite team won't hesitate to help a customer put together an entire ensemble for any occasion, no matter how many outfits have to be tried on to get the right look. 

Kelly Hogan, owner of The Fashion, puts so much heart into this boutique on every level. She truly cares about the happiness of customers and the local community as a whole, which was what sparked her desire to create the hugely successful Ruston Fashion Week in 2015. As if they weren't impressive enough, The Fashion was also awarded 2015 Business of The Year by the Ruston Chamber of Commerce. This recognition is a true testament of their superior service to customers and the community. 

Next time you're in the area, make sure you visit The Fashion of Ruston to see why locals have so much love for this boutique. Also, follow The Fashion on Facebook and Instagram to see new merchandise and outfit ideas. The Fashion is located at 208 W. Park Ave. and is open MondaySaturday from 10am–5pm. 

Tori is a proud Louisiana native and social media nerd. She has a passion for travel, food, and all things related to tourism promotions. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic, and lover of the outdoors. Still want to know more? Head over to her website

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

King Cake Recipes

Written By Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant 

Mardi Gras season is a time like none other in Louisiana. During these few weeks, Louisianians and visitors are allowed, if not expected, to attend festive parades, dress up for lavish balls, and eat ourselves sick on the signature dessert of Mardi Gras: king cake

As most people who've ever visited Louisiana during Mardi Gras season know, king cakes are one of life's tasty treats. You just can't beat a light and delicious cinnamon cake drizzled with sweet icing and topped with festive sugar. 

After hearing several people express interest in making a king cake from scratch, we decided to bring you a traditional king cake recipe, as well as an easier spin on this Mardi Gras favorite. Enjoy! 

Traditional King Cake

Ingredients for cake:
1 cup lukewarm milk, about 110°F 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
2 Tbsp dry yeast 
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup melted butter 
5 egg yolks, beaten 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest 
3 tsp cinnamon 
Several gratings of fresh nutmeg 

Ingredients for icing:

2 cups powdered sugar 
1/4 cup condensed milk 
1 tsp fresh lemon juice 
Purple, green, and gold decorative sugars 
1 plastic baby to hide in the cake after baking 

1. For the cake, pour the warm milk into a large bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar, yeast, and a heaping tablespoon of the flour, mixing until both the sugar and the yeast have dissolved.

2. Once bubbles have developed on the surface of the milk and it begins to foam, whisk in the butter, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the remaining flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a large rubber spatula.

3. After the dough comes together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl, shape it into a large ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes.

4. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a draft-free place to let it proof, or rise, for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume.

5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough between your palms into a long strip, making 3 ropes of equal length. Braid the 3 ropes around one another and then form the braided loaf into a circle, pinching ends together to seal. Gently lay the braided dough on a nonstick cookie sheet and let it rise until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes.

6. Once it's doubled in size, place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake until the braid is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

7. For the icing, while the cake is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar, condensed milk, and lemon juice in a bowl until the icing is smooth and very spreadable. If the icing is too thick, add a bit more condensed milk; if it's a touch too loose, add a little more powdered sugar.

8. Once the cake has cooled, spread the icing over the top of the cake and sprinkle with purple, green, and gold decorative sugars while the icing is still wet. Tuck the plastic baby into the underside of the cake and, using a spatula, slide the cake onto a platter.

(Recipe and photo from

*note: image pictured is not exact to this recipe

As you might have noticed, making a king cake from scratch is a fairly long process. If you're looking to make a Mardi Gras dessert that involves less effort and time, but still has all those great king cake flavors, then try these easy and tasty king cake bites!

King Cake Bites
Ingredients for bites:
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Ingredients for glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
yellow, green, purple sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and lemon juice with mixer until well blended.

3. Separate dough into 8 rectangles; seal seams. Sprinkle each rectangle with approximately 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.

4. Spread cream cheese mixture down middle of each rectangle. Fold each rectangle lengthwise into thirds to enclose filling (bring long edges up to cover cream cheese); cut each into 4 squares. Place, seam-sides down, on baking sheet.

5. Bake 13 to 15 min. or until golden brown. Cool slightly.

6. Mix together remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and milk. Spread on top of King Cake Bites and sprinkle with colored sugars.

Recipe pinned on
(Recipe and photo via

We hope you give these delicious king cake recipes a try this Mardi Gras season. Happy Mardi Gras and laissez les bons temps rouler!

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.