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I Gifted Myself Peace of Mind for the Holidays (and Beyond)

updated Dec 2, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Kaela Speicher; Stylist: Quelcy Kogel

This article is sponsored by Ring. All prices and savings listed in this post are as of publication and could change.

There’s so much I love about living alone: decorating how I want, not hesitating to bring home yet another houseplant, never having to remind a roommate again to unload the dishwasher. But while living alone helps me feel more confident, more empowered, and more myself, it can also feel a little vulnerable sometimes. It’s helpful to have another set of eyes around the house — and as much as I love my dog and cat, they’re not great at answering questions like, “What was that sound?”

So, in the spirit of creating exactly the safe and cozy home I want, I recently outfitted my space with a video doorbell and cameras from Ring. And lemme tell you: I figured I’d like these smart security features, but I didn’t know how much I’d appreciate them. These are just a few reasons why I’m so glad I made the move.

Credit: Photo: Kaela Speicher; Stylist: Quelcy Kogel

My Home Feels Safer

I live in a block of townhouses with a shared front walk, so there are often folks heading up my path toward another address. And according to my dog, Jasper, they’re all suspect. The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Generation) instantly alerts me to motion at my door, so I can check the Ring app to see what’s happening (and reassure Jasper that the mail carrier is just doing his job). I love that I have the ability to replay captured movements (subscription required) and watch the feed live.

Credit: Photo: Kaela Speicher; Stylist: Quelcy Kogel

I also installed the Ring Stick-Up Cam Battery at my back door, which turned out to be the item I use the most. It’s reassuring to have extra visibility along the path to my garage, especially at night. The Stick-Up Cam Battery was also a snap to install, even on my brick exterior wall: I just drilled two small holes, and it was good to go. This camera also has one very delightful perk: It shows me when Jasper’s best friend (aka my neighbor’s dog) is at the back door waiting for him to come out and play!

Credit: Photo: Kaela Speicher; Stylist: Quelcy Kogel

I’m More Connected to My Pets

My peace of mind doesn’t stop outside. Ring also makes a Stick-Up Cam Plug-In with Pan Tilt, which was exactly what I needed to keep an eye on Jasper and my cat, Mischa, while I’m away. I’ve had pet cams before but was frustrated by their stationary positions: I could only see Jasper or Mischa if they happened to be in the camera’s field of vision. (Have you ever met a cat?) Perched on my living room mantle, the Stick-Up Cam Plug-In with Pan Tilt not only has an almost panoramic wide-angle view, but it’s also remotely adjustable with the Ring app. I can swivel it as needed with a 360° view and 90° tilt, after which the camera will return to the “home” position that I selected when setting it up. This is handy if the animals are ever MIA — though usually Jasper is asleep on the couch and Mischa is asleep … on Jasper’s bed. (Again, have you ever met a cat?)

Credit: Photo: Kaela Speicher; Stylist: Quelcy Kogel

I don’t need to check in on my pets all the time: mostly when I’m gone for a few hours at a time, or if I’m away for the night and the cat is home alone. So one of the biggest selling points of this Stick-Up Cam Plug-In with Pan Tilt was that it stays plugged in, but I can keep motion detection off when I don’t need it to prevent recording. I appreciate this privacy feature, as well as the fact that I can activate motion recording on the go.

Credit: Photo: Kaela Speicher; Stylist: Quelcy Kogel

Package Delivery Is Way Easier

This is the perk I won’t shut up about: I didn’t know before getting the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Generation) that it even had a “Package Zone” feature, let alone that I would be so excited about it. Once the doorbell was installed and set up — such an easy process thanks to the No-Drill Mount (sold separately) — I followed the prompts in the Ring app to highlight the area on my porch where packages are usually left, like my front door and patio table. This helps the camera better identify (and ignore) activity, and then it sends me a package or motion alert accordingly.

I’ve found that I really appreciate having a distinct notification for packages: It feels more like a convenient FYI than an alert, which is especially helpful during the holiday shopping season when deliveries are more frequent. The camera’s package and motion sensitivity are independently adjustable, too, so I can tweak them to make sure I’m not missing notifications or getting false alarms.

Credit: Photo: Kaela Speicher; Stylist: Quelcy Kogel

My Ring devices are already paying off during the busy holiday season when I expect more packages and travel more. (Plus, ’tis the season to get some great deals on all things Ring, from doorbells to security systems.) And from future trips to upcoming urgent deliveries, I look forward to the peace of mind — and animal pics — these devices will keep giving all year long.