Our 1st Blogiversary: A New Look for a New Year of Travel Blogging

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The both of us!

An image of us from our first blog post!

On May 3rd, 2013, one year ago today, we decided to start our travel blog, Justin Plus Lauren. There were so many excellent reasons to start a travel blog. First of all, we wanted to keep a record of the many fun times we had enjoyed together as a couple. The blog was a creative outlet for writing, photography, and editing together videos. In planning our own trips, I had read so many travel blogs for suggestions, so it would be wonderful if we could inspire others just as so many had done for us. What we didn’t expect – connecting with so many like-minded members of the amazing travel blogging community that exists online! We’re very happy to have made some new friends, to read about their travels, and to be able to share our stories!

High Park Cherry Blossoms

High Park Cherry Blossoms, Toronto

For our one-year anniversary, we decided to launch a brand new look for our blog! What do you think? Our old look was functional enough and easy to navigate. We wanted to retain the ease of functionality, but add a little more style. We love the featured slider, as well as the featured images for each post. We added more ways to navigate the site at the footer of the page, while retaining the menu structure at the top. I also figured out how to customize some aspects of the theme, which involved a little bit of coding! So, I’m proud of myself for figuring that out on my own! We also like having the social media links up in the header so they can be easily located on every page. Speaking of social media, we joined many social sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Youtube, so you should hop on over to those sites and connect with us there!

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking at Gibraltar Island, Put-in-Bay, Ohio

A Year in Review

We were fortunate to travel to a number of places in 2014!  Our main trip was our cruise around the Caribbean visiting many tropical destinations including Florida, Nassau (Bahamas), St. Thomas, St. John, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, and Aruba. The highlights for us included whale/dolphin watching in Dominica, snorkeling the pristine coral reef around Klein Bonaire, and changing our plans on the fly when a tour fell through and experiencing the beauty of Grenada.

We traveled together to Montreal, Quebec where we visited historic Old Montreal and Old Port, relaxed at a Nordic Spa for the first time, ate delicious food, ate delicious bagels, and walked everywhere!

We visited the island of Put-in-Bay, Ohio with some friends and experienced a whole bunch of “firsts”: first time on a segway, first time kayaking, first time using a golf cart as them main mode of transportation, first cave we visited together, our first road trip with our friends along with us for the journey!


Snorkeling at Trunk Bay in St. John

We also placed an emphasis on our love for vegan food in our blogging. We both eat a plant-based diet and always seek out yummy vegan food on our travels (and in day-to-day life!), so we thought that this made our travels very unique! We hope that it also inspires you to dine at one of the many vegetarian restaurants we have visited!

When we’re back at home, we both work professionally as video editors in the media industry. We’ve also put together some videos for the blog featuring places where we’ve been, so why don’t you jump on over to the video section and take a look!


The two of us in Bonaire

We’ve also recently started a new feature on our site called Travel Blogger Thursday where we interview fellow travel bloggers from around the world! You can read all about the inspirations and adventures of the weekly featured blogger. If you’re a travel blogger and would like to be featured on our site, please contact us!

We’d also love to be more involved in guest blogging and contributions for other travel blogs. We were happy to contribute an article to Indefinite Adventure – a Vegan Guide to Toronto! If you’d like to have us write an article for you or contribute to one of your articles, please let us know and we’d be happy to help!

Hell Holes Cave

Climbing down into Hell Holes Cave, Ontario

What’s Next?

So, what’s in store for us for our second year of travel blogging? Well, we are unsure of where our adventures may take us; however, we will be visiting Watkins Glen and Ithaca, NY in June for my birthday to stay at Farm Sanctuary (an amazing farm animal rescue organization that we both wholeheartedly support). We will be road tripping it to some destinations this summer – right now, we have Quebec City and Montreal in mind (still plenty of things to see in Montreal!), as well as some other places in the USA – we’re thinking Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, as well as whatever we see along the way. We are focusing right now on some smaller trips within driving distance for the time being while we save for a vacation to Italy!!! Stay tuned!

We’re also thinking of hosting a small giveaway to celebrate our first year Blogiversary, which will be announced shortly!

Thank you so much for joining us on our adventures! We always appreciate your comments and feedback and love connecting with our readers!

Part of the #Sunday Traveler series! Link up over Pack Me To and read about 7 Free Things to do in Prague – view links to all of the participating blogs at the bottom of the post!

Linked up with Travel Photo Monday over at Travel Photo Discovery – check out this post about Enjoying a Day in Monterey and Pacific Grove and check out the other blogs, too!

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Travel Writer/Photographer/Video Editor at Justin Plus Lauren
Lauren is one half of "Justin Plus Lauren". She loves to travel, take photos, and write all about it! Lauren eats a plant-based diet and seeks out yummy vegan food on her travels. She loves nature, animals, outdoor adventures, coffee, and her cat, Chickpea.

43 thoughts on “Our 1st Blogiversary: A New Look for a New Year of Travel Blogging

  1. Phoebe Thomas

    Congratulations on your first year. It seems you’ve packed a lot into it. Italy will be great! You’ll love it!

  2. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    Congratulations on your blogiversary. As my own blog has grown from being just for friends and family to something more public, I’ve been too lazy to learn coding to make it fancier, so I am especially impressed that you did that for your own site. You’ve certainly had a good travel year, and it sounds like you have much to look forward to as well. Yes, saving up for Italy is important. I’m currently in the midst of planning our Italian trip for my family of 5, and my head is about to explode from looking a lodging prices.

    1. Justin and Lauren

      Thank you! I think your blog looks really great as it is now! When do you think you’ll be visiting Italy? We haven’t looked into the pricing of things yet as we’re at the very beginning stages of planning an itinerary, but I imagine it could get expensive for a family of 5! Good luck with everything!

  3. slightly astray

    Happy one year! I love the new slider! I’m impressed you figured out the coding and stuff yourself. My blog needs a serious facelift, but I’m so not techy-savvy so I don’t know if it’ll ever get done lol. I’m looking forward to reading about your new adventures this next year! Yay Italy! When do you think you’ll be going?

    1. Justin and Lauren

      Thank you! We are thinking either May or September of 2015 for Italy. That will give us lots of time to save up, do some planning, plus we can take these shorter trips in the meantime. We could probably do Italy this Fall, but we just adopted a kitten and we don’t really want to leave him at a cat boarding place while he’s still so young! So that’s one main reason why we’re thinking next year would be better for longer international travel.

  4. Anna Parker

    It’s great to look back over the year like this, incredible how much is fitted in travel wise!!

  5. The Crowded Planet

    Well done guys on your blogiversary! Sounds like you had many brilliant adventures and you’ll have some more amazing ones… I’m Italian, so feel free to write me to ask anything about Italy! You’ll have a ball for sure.

  6. Molly S

    Happy birthday! Love the new look of the blog. It sounds like you’ve got some exciting adventures planned – can’t wait to read all about them! And I hope you get to Italy, I’m hoping to go next year! :)

    1. Justin and Lauren

      Maybe we’ll end up being there around the same time! Let me know when you plan on going and where you’re thinking – and if you go first, I will totally be stalking your blog for ideas! :)

  7. theegetawaygal

    Congratulations on your first year blogging and the site looks great! Loved hearing about all you’re currently doing and want to do. I loved Italy so that was fun to hear that you’re saving to go there. Looking forward to year two! :)

  8. frankaboutcroatia

    Congrats, guys!! Love the fact that you’ve put the photo of the two of you from your first blog post. Love the slider at the homepage.

  9. hikebiketravel

    You look like you had one heck of a great year and there’s no shortage of trips to look forward to. Congratulations.

  10. Angela Anderson

    Happy 1 year anniversary. I had my blog for years before I was active. I just didn’t have the time that I do now to blog regularly. Keep up the good work and nice redesign!

    1. Justin and Lauren

      Thank you! Oh wow! Well, Ohio is a pretty big state, isn’t it? Put-in-Bay is so much fun! Not many people from around here have heard of it, despite it being only a 4-5 hour drive. We had a blast there!

  11. Dave

    Congrats, guys! The site looks really sharp, so well done with that. I’m excited to see where this next year takes you and the stories it brings.

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