Creating A Minimal Browsing Experiencing in Safari

Years ago, back when theming a Mac was possible, it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend hours tweaking the way the menu bar looked or changing the stock icons of my favorite apps. These days I’m pretty content with the way OS X looks though, which is good since Apple’s greatly reduced the ability to customize it. In any event, I’ve always done my best to hide things that didn’t need to be seen. Case in point, this screenshot from 2008 where I meticulously picked out every icon to match the wallpaper.

I’m no where near as into customizing as I used to be, but I still try to keep things as minimal as possible. Bartender’s a great example of an app that does that by keeping my menu bar tidy. I rely heavily on Bartender’s ability to only show an item in the menu bar if it detects a change. In fact thanks to that feature, on a regular basis, I only have 3 things in my menu bar: Healthier only when I’m at my desk, Fantastical, and the time (and of course the dots are Bartender itself).

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Somehow Safari ended up being the next app to be caught in my minimizing grasps and the results are a Safari interface that’s as minimal as I’ve ever had it. The minimalism isn’t just for looks though. It’s actually changed my behavior, making me more mindful of my browsing and more efficient too.

Hide Unnecessary Extensions and Buttons in the Toolbar

The first thing I did to simplify Safari was to hide any uncessary extensions and buttons on the toolbar. Only the things I truly use regularly need to be in the toolbar for quick access. For me this meant things like the Pinterest button didn’t make the cut. Pinterest unfortunately doesn’t have Share extension support where I’d prefer it to be located, but I’ll share my solution in a second. 1Password, the Share extension, and downloads are the only thing occupying the right side of my toolbar these days.

Remove the Favorites Bar

The next thing I removed was the favorites bar. This was a pretty big step for me. I’ve always had the favorites bar shown in my browsers for as long as I’ve been using a computer. I was worried I’d miss it, and I did for about 20 minutes. After those 20 minutes, my muscle memory had completely switched to using Alfred to launch my most visited sites.

Configure Alfred to Launch Bookmarklets

One thing Alfred couldn’t replicate out of the box was the bookmarklets that lived in my favorites bar. Paprika, my recipe manager of choice, allows you to import recipes from websites, but it does so using a bookmarklet rather than an extension. (Maybe one day that will change.) Without access to my favorites bar, saving a recipe became a lot more complicated than a single click. Thankfully, I found a wonderful Alfred workflow that let’s you trigger a bookmarklet with a keyword. I used “paprika” as the keyword to launch Paprika’s bookmarklet purely so I didn’t need to remember something else. Now when I’m on a site, I just need to launch Alfred and start typing paprika to get the bookmarklet.

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With the bookmarklet solution figured out for Paprika, I used the same workflow to make one for Pinterest. Remember I removed the button from the toolbar, so I needed a way to pin things. Pinterest’s bookmarklet, available originally for the iPhone before it got it’s own dedicated share extension, is available here.

New Windows Open Blank

Rather than launch a particular page or display my favorites, I opted to have new windows launch with a blank page. Minimal yes, but it has greatly reduced the mindless visiting of certain sites that I found myself opening purely because of habit. So here you have it folks, my Safari experience.

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The Mindful Browsing Extension

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My last Safari tweak is actually the addition of an extension called Mindful Browsing. If I find myself visiting a distracting site, I can click a button on the toolbar to block the site. Next time I visit it, I’ll be met with a timer (set to a time of your choosing) and a message asking me to reconsider my decision. Another handy addition is the inclusion of when you last visited the site, which serves as a great reminder for how often you actually visit distracting sites.

{Sunday Social} Week #9

Sunday Social

Boy is my internet slow today. Writing this has been a bit of a pain. It took nearly 5 minutes to simply get to the page to write the post. *end of rant* Happy Sunday everyone! It’s been a gorgeous week of nearly perfect weather. This week’s post is all about Twitter. If you don’t follow me already, follow my blog @littlelifeblog AND me @andreamocko for more general ramblings.

1. When did you join twitter? – According to Twitter, I joined in February of 2008. My blog account is a bit more recent and is less than a month old.
2. Who is your favorite non-celeb to follow? – I used to be a bit obsessed with the Apple fan community. I liked to tweak my Mac here and there to the point it didn’t look like a Mac. At one point I found my favorite icon designers had twitter accounts and I wanted to follow them. Louie Mantia (@mantia), a great designer, happens to be one of the few I still follow. {I sure hope he doesn’t find this mildly creeperish.} I’m slightly jealous of his frequent trips to Disney theme parks.
3. Who is your favorite celeb to follow? – It’s a tie between two “somewhat” celebrity accounts – the Tone It Up girls (@ToneItUp) and Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal (@oatmeal). The Tone It Up girls are always so motivating. Matthew Inman always seems to have my laughing or learning something new. Last week I learned about a crazy rainbow killing shrimp.
4. Have you ever had a celeb respond to a tweet? – I use Twitter more for following companies and products I like truthfully. While I don’t use Twitter as my #1 news source, that’s it’s main purpose for me. Following celebrities often clutters up my feed with rants about first-world problems.
5. What is your favorite store/brand to follow? – I have to say I enjoy following Sephora the most. They have some really handy tips.
6. Give us three tweeps we should be following. – Carly (@collegeprepster) is one of my favorite blogs at the moment. Definitely check her out. @omgthatspunny is another one that I enjoy. They post some pretty silly puns. And for one of the cutest families ever, be sure to check out Missy (@xopinkpistachio) another one of my favorite bloggers at the moment.

You can join in with this week’s Sunday Social by linking up on Neely’s blog, A Complete Waste of Makeup.


{Sunday Social} Week #8

Sunday Social

Happy Sunday everyone. This week it’s all about Pinterest. Now I know some people in the Philofaxy community dislike Pinterest. I do find it weird when I find my own stuff on there, but I really enjoy using it to save and share things with other people. I like getting ideas for  fashionable work attire, recipes, and quick tips, but I also use it as my wish list. I’m using it to plan my room renovations, and I also use it as a place to share products I love with others. So check me out on Pinterest if you haven’t already.

1. What is your favorite outfit pin? – So I went to private school from Kindergarten through senior year of high school, that’s nearly 13 years of uniforms. In college, I gravitated towards simple jeans and a t-shirt looks, but when I got my full-time job at a university, I was given one rule for what to wear, “Don’t look like a student.” Easier said than done when your 22 years old and 5’1″. I still get asked if I’m there for orientation on a regular basis. In any event, Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration for how to look professional without dressing like I’m 50. My current favorite look for Spring is this one:

2. What is your favorite food pin? – By far the favorite thing I’ve made so far is going to be the super simple peanut butter fudge recipe. I mean 2 ingredients, a couple minutes, and I’ve been told it’s better than the more complicated recipes.

3. What is your favorite wedding pin? – I have absolutely no wedding pins on Pinterest, and I sort of intend to keep it that way until I have a wedding to pin about which with any luck will be sooner than later.

4. What is your favorite DIY/craft pin? – I don’t typically pin crafts, but I do have a few. I had grand plans to have some of these in my office this winter, but they didn’t happen. Maybe next year.

5. What is your favorite quote/verse/lyric pin? –
Also not a huge pinner of lyrics, but this is one of my favs.

6. Share one more random pin you love. –
Now that Spring’s here, I’m starting to think about what I need to add to my wardrobe for Spring, and I’m thinking these shoes are going to be fairly high on my list.

You can join in with this week’s Sunday Social by linking up on Neely’s blog, A Complete Waste of Makeup.