Wednesday, December 23, 2015

20 Best Ruston Photos of 2015

In 2015, we saw several hundred photos on Instagram that were taken all around Ruston and Lincoln Parish. The incredible photos we kept encountering were captured by locals, visitors, students, and even businesses. It was tough to narrow it down, but we've picked our top 20 favorite photos taken in the Ruston area this year! Check them out below.

Downtown Ruston saw snow in February 2015
photo via Instagram @finelinesupply

A gorgeous sunset on the LA Tech campus
photo via Instagram @e_stewart24

The peach eating contest at the Louisiana Peach Festival
photo via Instagram @derekamaya

The lake at Lincoln Parish Park
photo via Instagram @theryanmurphy

Custom print of Ruston from The Makers Union
photo via Instagram @makersunion

French macaroon peach ring from Social Bites of Ruston
photo via Instagram @socialbitesofruston

Aerial view of the LA Tech campus
photo via Instagram @adammolens15

Summer time at Mitcham Farms peach orchard
photo via Instagram @codyalbritton

Eli Young Band concert at Revelry of Ruston
photo via Instagram @revelryofruston

Sundown Tavern is a local favorite restaurant/bar
photo via Instagram @varunkopparthy

The Fashion hosted a fashion show for Ruston Fashion Week
photo via Instagram @thefashionofruston

4th of July fireworks show at Temple Baptist Church
photo via Instagram @kevin_beasley

Photo taken on Park Ave. in Downtown Ruston
photo via Instagram @buiephotos

Ruston Farmers Market held in Downtown Ruston
photo via Instagram @railwaycoffee

A box of Ruston peaches from Mitcham Farms
photo via Instagram @mexiewoodardpolito

Sunset at Lincoln Parish Park
photo via Instagram @_d_gutierrez_

The Dixie Center for the Arts in Downtown Ruston
photo via Instagram @seajcalhoun

Live street performers during the 2015 NCLAC Holiday Arts Tour
photo via Instagram @livylouise

Railroad Park in Downtown Ruston during the holidays
photo via Instagram @thefashionofruston
The first-ever articifial ice skating rink in Downtown Ruston
photo via Instagram @cityofruston

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Louisiana-Inspired Holiday Party Recipes

Written By Tori Ward, CVB Markering/PR Assistant

The holiday season is in full swing, which means pretty much everyone will be either hosting and/or attending a few holiday parties. While we're sure that any holiday party you attend will have fun people, good music and a festive atmosphere, it's undeniable that tasty food and drinks are a necessity for a successful holiday party. To help get you in the holiday spirit, we have two Louisiana-inspired recipes for you that are sure to be a hit at any holiday party! 

You just can't go wrong with fresh shrimp, cheese or Cajun seasoning, which is why we've picked this warm Cajun Shrimp Dip recipe as a quick, go-to appetizer for any holiday party. 

Photo via:
Cajun Shrimp Dip
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, and chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup each onions, bell peppers, and celery, diced
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. or more, Cajun seasoning
4 tbs.'s white wine
2 tbs.'s lemon juice
Salt to taste
Few shakes Tabasco sauce
16 oz.'s cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup each fresh parsley and green onions, chopped

Melt butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers and saute' for 5 minutes. Add Cajun seasoning and garlic, stir well. Stir in white wine and lemon juice, and reduce heat to low.

Add shrimp, salt, and Tabasco. Mix well then cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Gradually add cream cheese until melted, stirring often and cook for 5 minutes. Add green onions and parsley and a little more white wine if mixture is too thick. Transfer to a dip bowl and serve with mini toasts or crackers. 

What's a holiday party without a yummy cocktail? A favorite Louisiana holiday cocktail is Brandy Milk Punch. This punch is a lighter substitute for egg nog, but has that same creaminess and rich flavor that everyone loves during the holidays. Not a brandy person? No worries, just use bourbon instead!

photos via
New Orleans Brandy Milk Punch
1/2 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups very cold whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional; replace with additional milk if desired)
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Small pinch of kosher salt
Ice cubes
Whole or ground nutmeg

In a pitcher, combine the brandy, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir vigorously until combined and frothy. Taste to adjust sweetness.

Fill two glasses with ice cubes and divide milk punch into the glasses. Top each with a generous grating or sprinkle of nutmeg, and serve immediately.

We hope you enjoy these Louisiana-inspired recipes this holiday season. Do you have a different go-to holiday party dish or cocktail? Tell us about it in the comments! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from everyone at the Ruston Lincoln CVB! 

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.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Parish Press: The Perfect Little Coffee Shop

Written By Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant 

Parish Press, local Ruston coffee shop 

For most people, nothing beats a good cup of coffee. But even more so, nothing beats a good cup of coffee from an incredible, locally-owned coffee shop. Here in Ruston, La. we have a gem of a coffee shop that draws people in from all over the area. It's nearly impossible to stop in Ruston and not grab a hot cup of well-crafted Louisiana coffee, not to mention some of their mouth watering beignets. Here's a quick spotlight on the Ruston coffee shop that locals love and visitors continue returning to.

Parish Press has a relaxing, homey atmosphere
Atmosphere: Parish Press is everything a local coffee shop should be. Locals find the atmosphere to be welcoming and relaxing. With soft music playing in the background, lots of natural light and local artwork hanging on the walls, it’s an ideal setting for studying, reading or having a casual coffee date. 

Parish Press stays fairly quiet, even in the middle of a rush, which is often lost at chain coffee shops. The d├ęcor is rustic and charming with a chalkboard menu, wood-paneled bar and wooden tabletops. This quaint coffee shop comes complete with comfortable booths and couches to make you feel at home, and there are even a few tables out front if you want to enjoy your coffee outside. The staff is polite, knowledgeable and helpful, so have no fear if you have questions or special requests.

Beignets from Parish Press (photo via Facebook)
Menu at a glance: Parish Press has all the coffee staples as well as small breakfast items. Get hot or cold coffee drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, teas, frappes, iced coffees and more. If you’d like a little something to eat with your coffee, you can also grab bagels, muffins, oatmeal, yogurt and granola, cookies, beignets or breakfast sandwiches. The beignets are a local favorite.

A little something extra: Being a locally-owned coffee shop, Parish Press focuses on the community and partnering with local businesses. They proudly serve well-crafted coffee from Louisiana like Railway Coffee, an independent small-batch roaster located in Ruston, La. Additionally, they feature artwork in the coffee shop by local artists, which can typically be purchased in-store. 

If you're in the area, make sure you experience Parish Press' unique atmosphere and exceptional coffee. Parish Press is located at 1007 N. Trenton St. in Ruston and is open every day from 6am to 10pm. Keep up with Parish Press on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ruston Holiday Gift Guide

Written By Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant 

For some people, Christmas shopping is their favorite part of the holidays; for others, it's the most dreaded part. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, we all know that shopping for Christmas gifts can be stressful and overwhelming at times. In an effort to make your Christmas shopping a little easier this year, we've put together a Holiday Gift Guide complete with gifts for the whole family that can be found right here in Ruston, La.

Lincoln Outdoor Living
There is much more to this store than outdoor goods and furniture. Lincoln Outdoor Living is a great place to find a variety of gifts for anyone on your shopping list. Here are just a few gift ideas that can be found at Lincoln Outdoor Living.

The Big Green Egg is a great gift for anyone who likes to grill.
Corkcicle Tumblers are a popular item for Christmas 2015.
White Wing bags come in several sizes and are perfect for travelers.
Rewined Candles are great for wine and candle lovers alike.

Townsend House Gifts
Townsend House is a great, go-to place if you're searching for a gift with local, Southern flair. Here are a few gift options available at Townsend House.

"Deep South Parties" by Robert St. John is an entertaining
cookbook that puts a twist on cooking for crowds.
Ruston-inspired dish towels and tote bags for the Ruston enthusiast. 
These Ruston serving dishes are perfect for anyone who likes to entertain.

The Pewter Company
If you're looking for a personalized gift, then The Pewter Company has you covered. They can personalize various gifts with vinyl lettering, including tumblers, plates, serving dishes and more. Check out these personalized gift ideas from The Pewter Company.

Personalize a plate, platter or other dish to add a special touch.
For a family gift, personalize a door hanger or other decor.
These personalized tumblers are great for anyone on your shopping list.

Fine Line Supply Co.
While Fine Line Supply Co. carries a wide selection of art supplies, they also sell locally-made items that are perfect gifts for those who appreciate quality, handmade products. Here are a few gift ideas that can be found at Fine Line Supply.

Scentsational Soy candles are handmade and come in a
variety of amazing scents. 
This Stows t-shirt is perfect for anyone who was a loyal
customer of this iconic Ruston hangout.
Pastry Moon soaps are handmade with all natural ingredients.

Penny Perfect Gift Shop
Penny Perfect is a local favorite located in Downtown Ruston. With a wide variety of items, Penny Perfect is a great, go-to shop when you're in search for gifts. They carry LA Tech gear, locally-influenced items, children's toys and more. Here are some gifts that can be found at Penny Perfect.

These holiday styrofoam cups are a great, little addition to a gift.
Zoo Pack backpacks are a practical and fun gift for kids.
This LA Tech gear is perfect for any Bulldog fan.

Beehive Outlet
Beehive carries everything from clothing and jewelry to home decor, which makes it an ideal spot to find the perfect gift for those on your Christmas shopping list. Here are just a few gift ideas that are available at Beehive.

This pajama set is a perfect gift to keep someone warm this winter.
For the coffee lovers, these chalkboard-style coffee cups are a great gift.
These stylish picture frames are sure to be a hit this Christmas.
Add a photo to make it even more thoughtful. 
Beehive has a huge selection of girls hair bows,
which can be monogrammed to add a personal touch.

We hope that you took away some helpful ideas from this holiday gift guide. The shops mentioned above, as well as other shops in the area, have so much to offer this holiday season, so make sure you give them a visit! For information on holiday events happening here in Ruston, click here.
Happy Christmas shopping!

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.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

5 Holiday Travel Trips

image via
Written by Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant 

With the holidays quickly approaching, we know that a lot of you will be traveling to see family and friends. Whether you’re loading up the car and taking a road trip or checking your bags at the airport and boarding a plane, we have some helpful tips to make your holiday travels a little bit easier.

1. Avoid peak travel dates. 

While holiday traffic jams are sometimes unavoidable, adjusting your travel plans slightly can prove to save you time, as well as a headache or two. To avoid the craziness that surrounds peak holiday travel dates, plan to travel on the actual holiday when things have settled down a bit. If that isn’t a feasible option for you, then plan to travel early or late in the day to avoid heavy traffic. Fun fact: The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, so start mentally preparing now for crazy traffic in airports and on highways.

2. Do your research. 

Before you even pack up the car, do some research on your travel route. Are there any highway closures you should know about along the way? Any big events happening in places you’re passing through that could cause traffic issues? Even if you don’t foresee any problems, have a back-up travel route in case you hit any unexpected traffic issues. 

image via
3. Download helpful travel apps beforehand. 
When traveling, your smartphone is your best friend. Take advantage of all the great apps that are out there to help make your travels easier. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below.
  • TripIt
  • Flight Status
  • Gate Guru
  • Gas Buddy
  • Roadtrippers
  • iExit
  • TripAdvisor 
  • Waze 

4. Ship gifts beforehand or stick to gift cards.

Traveling with gifts can be a pain. They take up room in your luggage and can often lead to baggage fines if they put your bags over the weight limit. Also, there’s a possibility that your gifts could get unwrapped in a random baggage search. Consider shipping gifts beforehand to avoid fines and make your life a little easier. If you really want to simplify your holiday travels, go the gift card route. They take up very little space and you can keep them safe in your carry-on luggage. If you do travel with gifts, we recommend you wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap them. 

5. Stay hydrated and nourished. 

While you may be saving room for big, delicious holiday meals, make sure you eat before and during a trip. When traveling, you want to avoid a drop in blood sugar, which can make you sleepy, lethargic and irritable. Definitely don’t skip meals and pack plenty of snacks and water to ensure you stay high in energy and spirits while traveling. You and your travel buddies will be thankful, trust us. Hint: If you’re flying, pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on and fill it up once you get past security.

We hope these tips help to make your holiday travels just a little bit easier. Visit our Pinterest for more travel tips. Safe travels and happy holidays from the Ruston Lincoln CVB!

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