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 ( 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:


My dog Bug on Instagram:

Buy my prints at:

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.


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 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 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…


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

Photo Stories 101: The Girls’ Weekend

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We’re reasonably good at capturing the holidays, birthday parties, and vacations of our families—kids jumping in the lake, riding the carousel, picking strawberries, and tobogganing at the winter-sleeping golf course. But what about capturing a special getaway with friends?

Whether it’s associated with a wedding, a retreat, a little vacation, or a reunion, bring your camera and take on the project of capturing it. Perhaps instead of contributing food, presents, or souvenirs, your participation in the weekend could be a photobook to memorialize all those friendships? It’s a rare and wonderful project that everyone will appreciate—and, mailed along to everyone after they’ve settled back into ordinary life, it will bring everyone back to treasure those times and those faces.

When you’re shooting—no matter what kind of camera or mobile device you’re using—do your best to be candid, to capture natural moments of cloistering, conversation, or laughter. Take time to memorialize the food, the activities, and the aesthetic details that make your friends your friends—their hand-knit hats, their hula hoops, their pots of tea and bottles of wine, their afternoons sitting on braided rugs around the fire. Wander from one bunch of friends to another, doing your best to get a good portrait of each individual at some point. Include a mix of action shots and partial compositions—jumping, swimming, sandy feet, bright red boots.

Do you not have a girls’ (or guys’) weekend like this? Start one. Make it a tradition. Use someone’s cottage or rent a little place that’s central to everyone, and bring everything that you and yours love. Cheesy magazines, homemade pickles, snowmobiles, tarot cards, candles, home-canned salsa. Set a stage and invite them all, with plenty of time to plan for childcare or bank accounts. It’s a chance to be yourself outside of your roles—wife or husband, mother or father—and to invest time in the friendships that feed you.

Just make sure that whatever you do, you bring your best camera with this promise: I will actively look around me, all the time, for what I love about these people—and I will capture it as best I can.

We have a private Facebook group for our bunch of widely-scattered friends, and in it, now that we’re all home, we’re sharing photos and memories. But what they don’t know is that I am cooking up something for them to hold, and it will come to them with a red bow wrapped around it, an invitation to make sure there’s a next year. That’s my contribution. —Kate Inglis

How to begin taking great vacation photos

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First thing to do when you get there—straight off the plane and before you’ve even traded boots for flip-flops: get a sense of the place. You might be waiting for your room, like I was, with only your camera to pass the time before getting settled and suited-up. Or you might be in the mood to seek places to eat and shop and stretch out in the sun like fat cats… Read More