Say hello to talented Instagrammer @apebalsom

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This past week, we were lucky to have Aprille Balsom, the talent behind the @apebalsom Instagram account, take over our feed and give us a little tour of LA on a recent work trip.  Besides crisp and cozy photographs, her feed is also chock-full of adventures, fashion and a cute French bulldog named Bug.  Below, we get to know Aprille a little bit better and get a glimpse into what makes this girl tick…

[LA palms from @apebalsom’s takeover of the Impressed Instagram feed]


Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

You in 25 words:

I’m a social media-obsessed fashion junkie who likes to document my life in pictures. I also love nothing more than watching movies with my boyfriend & puppy (when I have time).


Where do you currently live and what’s your favorite thing about your city?

I moved to Toronto about 2 ½ years ago for school. I always wanted to live in a bigger city and be in the middle of everything. I love how Toronto is made up of different neighborhoods that are all so different from one another; it gives the city more character.

What do you do for a living?

I currently work at Brandy Melville Canada as the stock manager. I also run their social media and play around with the visuals.

It’s obvious that you have a very creative spirit-what do you do when you encounter a creative block?

I spend a lot of time on social media, partly because it is my job but also because I enjoy it. I always keep a photo album on my phone of images that I come across on Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr, it’s kind of like a mood board. Outfits I like, home décor, or even the way the photo was taken are some of the reasons why I’ll save an image. Whenever I am in need of a little extra inspiration I will look through the album, it usually does the trick, or I will go shopping. I always get inspired to show off my new shoes or décor I just bought.

Do you remember your first ever Instagram post and how do you feel your feed has evolved since then?

My first post is actually still on my feed. It’s from the night before I moved to Toronto. I took it from my boyfriend’s backyard as the sun was setting. At that point I was using Instagram simply for a personal use and to connect with my friends. After a while, I began to look at my feed more as a way to be creative and started using it as a portfolio. I now focus on showcasing my personal style, travel adventures, favorite foods, and decor taste all with a minimalistic feel. I also try to stay consistent on how my photos are taken, edited, and captioned, it flows a lot better that way.

[My first-ever Instagram post: taken from my boyfriend’s backyard as the sun was setting, the night before I moved to Toronto.]

What do you normally shoot with?

Lately I have been going back and forth between my Canon Rebel T3i and my iPhone 6. I use my iPhone when I am out and on the go, however if I am home or have my camera with me I opt for my Canon.

Do you have a go-to photo-editing app?

Although I use a few different apps to edit, my go-to is definitely Afterlight, it has everything you need and more. I also love how customizable it is.

Top 3 Insta-crushes?
  1. Rima_rama
  2. mija_mija
  3. Piggyandpolly
Favorite items for a quick space refresh?

Crisp new bedding: Add a couple pillows, or change your duvet; it can dramatically change a space in an instant. Plus, who doesn’t love fresh new sheets?

Plants, especially cacti: They’re cute, easy to look after, and make every space a little happier. Once your bored of them, change up their placement throughout your home and it will feel like new

Photos: Polaroids, posters, photographs, and prints are all simple and easy ways to add a personal touch to any space. You can add just one or create a wall of photos depending on where you want to put them and your personal taste.

[My favourite space, my bedroom.]

What décor trend are you lusting over at the moment?

I’ve always been a huge lover of white décor, which conveniently seems to be trending right now. I also really love the minimalistic feel, simple and basic, which in my opinion is always in style.

Describe your perfect Sunday?

The perfect Sunday would include waking up without any alarms and exploring a different part of the city with my boyfriend and our puppy, Bug (instagram.com/thewrinkleybug). Grabbing some food at a new restaurant, doing some shopping, and ending off the day on the sofa watching a movie.

What is currently at the top of your wanderlust wish list?

Right now I’m really obsessing over going to Fiji, it’s so beautiful and exotic. There’s an underwater hotel there that I would love to stay at. I also really want to go on a road trip across America for a few weeks, exploring and taking photos of everything along the way.

With the world as your playground, what is your favorite?
  • Bar: Trapper John’s, St. John’s, Newfoundland, it’s one of the top ten pubs in Canada according to Reader’s Digest, plus it’s also a museum.
  • Shop: Vintage Stores on Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, the best vintage I have ever shopped.
  • People-watching destination: Marina Boardwalk, Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol, Spain. There’s always so much going on- restaurants, street vendors, tourists, the beach. You can sit there with a coffee and a book for hours.
  • Date-night spot: Like I said, I love the movies so probably grabbing dinner and catching a movie.
Follow me on:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/apebalsom

My dog Bug on Instagram: www.instagram.com/thewrinkleybug

Buy my prints at: imprsd.co/apebalsom

Instagram Tour of Toronto: Dundas St West

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We are embarking on a quest to feature some of the best independent design shops and studios in Toronto who work their brand on Instagram! Today’s little cluster of talent is on Dundas West, specifically in the stretch between Bathurst and Grace.

First we stopped by the shop and floral design studio of Lisa Collins, owner of Sweet Woodruff. Her shop is a well-curated collection of modern romantic decor items to accessorize your home and integrate botanical elements into your life. Her arrangements are elegant and lush with a polished handmade feel to them. If you’re looking for flowers for an event, definitely check out her feed for inspiration.

madedesign_blog1Our second stop was with Shaun and Julie at MADE Design. A mix of modern Canadian design to adorn your home and your table, MADE sells handmade works and small production pieces by industrial designers, craftsmen, architects, designers and artists. You can see some of their favorites and custom work on their Instagram account.

And our last visit was with Arounna and John at Bookhou. They are a husband and wife creative force that turn out inspired and timeless art, textile and woodworking pieces that any design-savvy home buyer would covet. Also, Arounna does an amazing job as photographer and curator of their IG feed. We’re not sure how she has time for it all!

And while you are on this stretch, a few options for lunch: Cafe Brasiliano for a fantastic and surprisingly inexpensive meal, or S.Lefkowitz, the only hummuseria (of course that’s a word) in Toronto. Yum.


Make Her Day This Mother’s Day: A Photo Book, Fresh Flowers, and a Hug!

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We have two Mother’s Day promotions to make Mom smile:

(1) Use code MOMFIVE at checkout to get $5 off any photo book for Mom. Order by 04/28/2014.

(2) Mom in Toronto? Use code TOMOM to get a free floral bouquet from BLOOMdarling with ANY Impressed photo book purchase! Our street team will personally deliver your mom’s book and flowers, wrapped in a big hug, on Saturday May 10th. Only for Toronto deliveries. Order by 05/05/2014.

Go ahead. Make her day.

*codes cannot be used together.

Where Has Baby Been? The Story Behind a Silly But Effective Facebook Ad Campaign.

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Facebook-02-05-2014We wouldn’t call ourselves Facebook advertisting experts by any means. We have, however, stuck around long enough to reach a plateau in the learning curve. In addition, we’ve recently completed a 4 week program with a member of the Facebook Account Team to help us optimize our ads on the platform. This program was fairly helpful in demystifying some of the nuances of how the Facebook machine actually works. However much of it remains a bit of a mystery, even to their veteran account team. Other findings were unfortunately the kind that make you want to never give Facebook another ad dollar, like the way they control who sees your posts on your Business Page. Essentially, only about 12% of your fans see your posts. You can boost views by posting stuff that those 12% will Like or Share organically, otherwise, you gotta pay for them to push your posts. Hm. If it weren’t for the fact that Facebook ads are currently the best way to specifically target iPad users that we know of (if you are not a game) then we might be spending those ad dollars elsewhere.

Now for the real reason we’re here - today marks the occasion of Baby’s 10th Facebook ad.  Yay! Let’s celebrate by taking a look back at the ads. Baby’s had an interesting journey to that idyllic beach on the island of Mustique (see above). It all started in the most unlikely of places, a Movember party and a handlebar moustache…Baby took it up a notch for ad number 2 by dressing for a black tie event in honor of the launch of our new Black Tie Photo Book. We admit, that tiny hat is a bit creepy and didn’t stick around too long.facebook-1200x627-11.25.13Being a die-hard Trekkie, Baby couldn’t resist getting into the Cyber Monday spirit with a little homage to Geordi: ‘Captain, traffic to our website is off the charts - we’ll have to jettison the warp core!’ An invitation to visit Santa’s workshop put a little rosy in everyone’s cheeks in anticipation of the Holidays. Less silly, more gooey. Our installs took a slight dip.facebook-1200x627-12.07.13Silly hit a new high with a little ‘Baby Rudolph goes to college’! While this particular ad was probably executed with the least graphical design ability, it did become our most popular. The lure of the big red nose - (whispering) ‘tap me…tap me”facebook-1200x627-12.11.13Baby’s new Facebook fame was now requiring a disguise in public to fend off admirers and errant cheek pinching. This one did the trick and allowed Baby to get some late Christmas shopping done for the Impressed Team.

Don’t put Baby in a corner! A wallflower, Baby is not. At only 7 months old, Baby has already checked ‘Party in Times Square on New Years Eve’ off the bucket list. The magic of Photoshop.

facebook-12.26.2013After a well-deserved break, where Baby indulged in a little too many mushy peas and Baby NumNums, the gym was high on Baby’s list of destinations. Never has purple spandex looked better.

With Baby’s new confidence, it was time to up the game for fans. A stylist was hired. Baby’s new look? Sweet, with a bit of a rock edge. The change did not go unnoticed, Baby was hired as an extra in Miley Cyrus’ new music video.So what’s the equation you ask? Silly (Humour) + Baby + Face + Call to Action = Installs. Facebook told us that food and animals also work equally well, so maybe Baby becomes a foodie and gets a yorkie. You’ll have to register to see what happens next :) Any guesses? If you have any Facebook ad secrets to share, we’d love to read them in the comments!

Photo Stories 101: Photos Inspiring Our Actions

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Photography has really made huge strides over the last 10 years. Not just by going digital and creating a new visual way to communicate but by seeing our lives through a photojournalistic lens. Instead of how we spend our time dictating what photos we take, more and more, the photos we want to take are dictating how we spend our time. It’s fascinating to see this shift. Because people are using social networks like Instagram and Facebook as a kind of visual life journal, we are being inspired to act by seeing what others are shooting and doing. Here are some examples of photo stories that would inspire us to do something!

This collection of gorgeous Instagram shots from photographer @annanovak of her trip to Maine makes me nostalgic for my seaside place of birth in Nova Scotia - mental note, book a trip for the summer to take the kids exploring the beaches, seaweed, shells, rocks and creatures of the East Coast tidal pools.photo 3American adventuress living abroad @quiteheatherly is always making me bump Europe to the top of my travel destinations list. So much so that I just booked a trip to one of my favourite Euro destinations, Italy, for the end of May. Carpe Diem, as they say. On a smaller scale, this particular story inspires me to visit my local market and have a French-inspired picnic spread and a great bottle of red for a stay-at-home date night this weekend.photo 2Our previous blog contributors and subjects @kate_inglis, @mikekus and @mainemomma have also inspired us to act. To plan a weekend family adventure at the seashore and end a crisp Fall day with a freshly baked loaf of pumpkin bread.1780bMike Favourite Instagram 12Mmmm. Now I have spicy pumpkin carbohydrate goodness on the brain - must squeeze some baking into this weekend…


3 Steps to Celebrating With Your Kids on Valentine’s Day - Photo Books and Fondue Anyone?

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vdayNo more waiting for someone else to make your Valentine’s Day special - make it special for someone else, your kids! So how do you show them how much you love them? We find it sometimes difficult to spontaneously conjure up a list of all of the things that make each of our children special (does that make us bad parents?!). We’re just too close to see the obvious sometimes. Here’s an easy way to get perspective - go through your camera roll on your phone or your collection of photos from the past year and it’s all right there. Taking photos is one of the ways we capture that love so it makes it easy to use them for inspiration.

We also know it’s a parents’ job to preserve these photo memories so we’re suggesting that you make it a tradition to dedicate a photo book to each of your kids on Valentine’s Day. Their expectation each year will be that extra incentive for you to get those photo books ordered. The rush of Christmas is gone, it’s a new year, you have a new headspace. Capitalize on that little window of opportunity in January, collect photos of each child, and then pop them into a photo book. We’re making it easy for you with our new ‘Be Mine’ Photo Book brought to you just in time for Valentine’s Day in the Impressed App.

Kids really love traditions and we think they will look forward to this one for a very long time. Here are the 3 steps to a family Valentine’s Day to remember.

STEP 1 (January) Go through your photos and choose approximately 30 photos of each of your children. Put them in an album on your phone, ipad or computer. Of course many photos you take are a mix of the entire family so it’s okay to repeat! Remember, these books are just the beginning of an amazing collection they will cherish when they have their own kids.

Use the Impressed app to make a ‘Be Mine’ photo book in just a few minutes. Use these tips to get your photos onto your iPad if they aren’t there already.

STEP 2 (January) Make sure your fondue pot is in good working order and you have the right accessories because you are now planning a family Vday dinner the kids will anticipate all year…cheese and chocolate fondue. If you don’t have a fondue pot you can buy one as an investment in Valentine dinners to come or borrow one from your parents! Some of our picks:

STEP 3 (A Week Before Feb 14th) Source your table decor and dinner ingredients. For our table we used a heart punch to make gold hearts and scattered them on the table. We accented with red napkins and pulled out our most ‘romantic’ looking table accessories like our grandmother’s scalloped edged platter and French country glassware. Here are some ideas to inspire your table:

With fondue you just have to accept that this will not be your healthiest meal of the week. It’s just one night so pick things that the kids really love. Here are some ideas…

For cheese:

  • Cubes of french, or sourdough bread - lightly toasted
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, fennel spears, carrots - lightly steamed
  • Steamed baby potatoes - halved
  • Cubes of ham or turkey, mini meatballs
  • Apple, pear, grapes

For chocolate:

  • strawberries, pear, orange, pineapple, banana
  • digestive cookies, graham cracker, cubes of rice crispie treats, cubes of angel food cake
  • Pretzels, marshmallows, gummy bears, strips of bacon, rippled potato chips

Now enjoy a delicious meal while re-living moments from the past year. The delight on your kids’ faces is one of the best Valentine’s Day gift you could wish for :)

Photo Stories 101: Tea Time

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I’ve always liked the idea of High Tea. Tiered trays of tiny soft sandwiches and sticky sweets…flaky scones with butter and jam. And of course the ‘slow’ ritual of steeping and pouring fragrant teas from Eastern Lands into delicate cups on saucers. And then there’s the average Brit’s slightly less romantic interpretation, where the term ‘Tea’ refers to their dinner or a late afternoon meal eaten in the hours of 4-7pm. Whatever the words conjure up in your imagination, ‘Tea Time’ was what has inspired our Photo Story idea this week. Read More

Show Us How You Celebrate the Holidays and Win!

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As we mentioned earlier this week, our Limited Edition ‘Black Tie’ photo book is now here for the Holidays. In the spirit of all things ‘Black Tie’ and to encourage you to get your festive on, we want to see how you’re celebrating the season. So…take a BOWTO!


There are 2 simple steps:
STEP 1 - Take a photo of how you celebrate the holiday season and be sure to include a black bow tie
STEP 2 - Share it on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and use the hashtag #BOWTO

Each time you use the BOWTO hashtag you’re entered to win a Year of Impressed Photo Books*! That means you’ll receive one free Impressed photo book, made with the Impressed iPad App, each month for an entire year. That’s 12 modern photo books and one beautiful collection. This prize is valued at $350…not to mention the invaluable motivation you need to get those digital photos into print!

Here is how other people are celebrating and using #BOWTO. If you don’t have a black bowtie of your own we’re here to help. Save the image below to your Camera Roll on your mobile phone so you’ll never be without the perfect black bow tie! Of course it means you can’t take the BOWTO yourself but hey, that’s what friends are for. We look forward to seeing you :)



The candid how-to of family photography: Ali Martell of Cheaper Than Therapy

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Continuing our tips & tricks series with our favourite photographers, Ali Martell of Cheaper Than Therapy talks to us about the art of family storytelling and how to change your perspective for great shots.

How can people approach photography as storytelling, given that we tend to get stuck in a rut of one-off snapshots? What do you think is the magic that separates a snapshot from a storytelling photo?

A posed snapshot is lovely to look at, but it doesn’t really tell me the whole story, the real story. Storytelling photos are works of art. They make us feel and think; ask questions and wonder. My favorite shots are the ones I take when people are unguarded and when don’t think they are being photographed. When a baby desperately tries to pick up a dropped toy, when a toddler masters bubble blowing for the first time, when a brother laughs at his sister’s joke, a mother watching her daughter dance on stage, a husband stealing a kiss. Those are the real moments, stories captured forever… Read More