2019 lake + loft dream.plan.do Planner

Hello everyone! 🙂 I’m excited to bring you a review of the lake + loft dream.plan.do 2019 planner today! I ran a little behind schedule this week because there is just so. much. content. in this planner that I wanted to write about. From removable extras (did somebody say postcards?!) to detailed monthly prep pages, the dream.plan.do planner has a lot to offer.

My research indicates that lake+loft and the dream.plan.do planner first launched for a 2017 line. This means that the 2019 planner is the third year the planner has been in production. Robyn Wehab, the founder and designer behind lake+loft, “believes the best planners are the ones that do a lot of the work before you even put pen to paper. She feels that a planner’s structure is key to keeping folks organized and engaged and she wanted to make one that looks so good, you’ll want to have it out on your desk—and therefore be more likely to use it” (The Grommet). As Robyn herself says:

i launched l+l after years of designing stationery for our sister company, meant to be sent. i decided it was time to combine my love of paper + gift + home products with my signature, casual-luxe style, and lake + loft was born! the result: the perfect combination of casual lakeside living + luxe, modern, lofty style — fancy yet attainable. high end, but never stuffy. fun yet sophisticated.

The company is based in Michigan, and there is a definite aesthetic that is unique to lake+loft’s dream.plan.do planner, but we will get into that a little more in the meat of my review. 😉 Robyn reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing her 2019 planner, and I said yes! She has been patient with me, which is much appreciated. ❤

This planner retails for $39 normally but is currently on sale for $35.99. Shipping is expensive at roughly $15, but is strictly 3-day priority shipping. You have the option of paying a whopping $41 for 1-day shipping. This makes the total cost of the planner (right now, with discount) about $51 and some change.

Without further adieu, let’s dig into the planner!

Function

The dream.plan.do (DPD) planner is organized into four sections: (1) dream, (2) plan, (3) do, and (4) extras. We will go through each section and then discuss the planner’s overall function.

dream

Robyn writes that the dream is the “what,” the goal. The DPD planner begins with this section to help set you up for the year ahead.

You first open the DPD Planner to a title page opposite a high-quality pocket folder. The pocket folder is linen and the interior is coated with slick cardstock. It feels sturdy. This pocket folder includes a brochure of how to use your new planner and a complimentary sheet of stickers! Next, you have the nameplate page with room to write your name (“these dreams belong to”) and a note to yourself for the year!

Then we start on the sections. The first is the Dream section, which includes twelve two-page spreads with a blank space for drawing/writing/mapping out your “big ideas,” and a lined page for “minor details.” Twelve spreads means that you could use one for each month or decide to use them as big ideas occur to you! Plan out your next birthday party, map out goals for pursuing a healthier lifestyle, jot down your big ideas for creating your own company, etc. No dream is too big or too small–that’s why these pages are so unstructured.

plan

The next tabbed segment takes up most of the planner–your plan section!

Before you completely leave your dreams behind, there is a page at the end of the dream section for All the Dreams, where you can record your dream, budget, and a date to complete it by.

Robyn has really tried to give you plenty of room in the DPD planner. You have detailed and purposeful pages at the beginning of each month to start you off. First, you have a two-page spread for your Monthly Goals. On the first page, you have three dotted lines for writing out your Dreams + Goals for the month, then eight spaces for writing down a Plan of Action beside a Do By column. So if you had a dream of, say, writing four blog posts per month, then your list might start with something like “Plan of action: write lake+loft dream.plan.do planner review. Do by March 29.” 😉

Each month also has a themed quote, which you’ll find at the bottom of your Monthly Goals page. The adjacent page includes a single-page version of your Dream section’s spreads. The first half of the page is a blank space for Big Ideas, and the second half if lined space for Minor Details.

Next, you have your Monthly Budget page. This page is exclusively for tracking your bills and expenses. You have three columns: Bill to pay, due date, and $ amount. At the end of the 14 lines to enter these, you have a box outlined in color where you can write in your Total Monthly Expenses.

This is followed by a Moneytree page. The Moneytree page helps you calculate your monthly income, figure out what to put in savings, and figure out your balance. Personally, I think the most helpful thing about the moneytree is that it forces you to look up and write down what your income, expenses, savings, and balance are. You can’t ignore these numbers when you have to look them up, calculate them, and write them down every month. That may sound basic, but I think it’s a fantastic first step towards budgeting for people who are terrified to look at their finances.

The Moneytree page ends with a What You Want section, which gives you space to write out what you are saving for (a downpayment for a house? Just a pedicure? Nothing is too big or small!), a goal date, goal amount, and fill in a progress bar.

lake and loft 2019-16

I really like the monthly layout of the DPD planner because it has daily boxes that are a little bit taller/longer than usual. This is great if you like to list things (appointments, reminders) on your monthly spread!

The DPD planner has a two-page monthly spread with a Monday start. This means that Monday–Thursday are on one page while Friday–Sunday are on the second page. It’s kind of nice for visually separating your weekends! The righthand side of the monthly layout is reserved for a generous, blank notes column. The second page also includes a prompt to write in your dream, plan, and do notes for the month, positioned as a header.

lake and loft 2019-17

The weekly spread comes next! This is a two-page weekly spread with stacked vertical boxes. This has a Monday start and is dated continuously, row by row. So the first page has Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday/Sunday (shared), while the second page has Wednesday and Thursday along with a hey, thanks! section, weekly wins, and general to-do tick boxes.

The header of the two-page spread includes which week it is (1-52) of the year and the dates it runs (January 28-February 3, for example). You also get two mini monthly calendars, one for the month you’re currently in and one for the following month.

Each weekday box is denoted with a different colored flag, so you can organize by color and know which day is which at a glance! These vertical daily boxes are spacious–you have so much room for anything you need to write down. Each vertical box measures ~4 3/4″ x 3″, so you get plenty of space. This makes it easy to do, well, whatever you like with each spread. You could divide it so that half the space is for Today and the other half for To Do, for example. This openness lends itself well to people with days that fluctuate because you get to decide what each day looks like on paper.

The hey, thanks! section is lovely because it prompts you to actively practice gratitude, suggests snail mail (my fave <3), and provides a deliberate space for thanking the people in your life. The weekly wins box is also a nice reminder to think about moving forward with positivity instead of dwelling on what went wrong. I love a weekly to do list so I was pleased to see one here. Sometimes there are tasks that need to get done sometime during the week but aren’t tied to a particular day. This space is a great place to write those down so you don’t forget!

lake and loft 2019-19

At the end of your weekly spreads you have a single page for your month in review. You are prompted to write down “Awesomeness”, which can pertain to experiences, gratitude, things you did well, wins, etc. I can be an exercise in positivity to bolster you as you continue to chase your goals and dreams. The next section is Areas for Improvement, which gives you three dotted lines to write down anything you would like to improve upon. Lastly, this page includes a finance section where you can write your Actual Monthly Budget + Balances. There is even a savings progress bar for you!

The planner continues on in this vein until you reach the end of December 2019.

do(?)

The DPD planner has tons of helpful extras! There is an entire “Extras” tabbed section. Let’s go through them.

First, you have “a look ahead,” which gives you the years 2020 and 2021 at a glance. Each page includes one year of mini monthly calendars and a few lines for notes to help you plan into the future. Next, you have a two-page spread for your “event planner.” This layout is designed as a grid with January–December along the top row and the days 1–31 along the first column. The DPD planner recommends that you “color in the blocks you’re booked for a quick visual of your schedule.” Have a conference coming up? A wedding to attend (or run, or have)? Block the dates off. Color code! Or not. Whatever works for you! 🙂

“Important dates” comes next, which includes a list of American and Canadian holidays and their corresponding dates for 2019 and 2020. This is the kind of page you usually find at the beginning of a planner, but I like that it’s back in the Extras tab. It feels like an appendix to me, which my brain kind of loves. There is a lined notes page adjacent to the “important dates” page, which could be used for whatever you need.

So this is my favorite section in this planner. It’s like having a little stationery set with you wherever you go. #goals You get a two-page #HBD spread for writing down allllll the birthdays you need to keep track of. Each month has six lines for recording that special day. 🙂 So if you have five important people with birthdays in November, you have the space to write them all down.

This is followed by a page for “gift ideas,” which include three columns: recipient, gift, and $. This is helpful for those moments when you think of the perfect gift for your friend Ashley–but her birthday is in four months. Write it down so you don’t forget! 😉

This planner includes postcards! There are three pages of thank you postcards and three pages of happy birthday postcards. These are printed on thick cardstock, two per page, and have perforated edges perfect for cleanly tearing out each postcard as you need it. Love it! ❤ These are fabulous for sending out speedy thank yous and popping birthday wishes in the mailbox pronto!

lake and loft 2019-29

At the end of the planner you have another linen pocket folder for keeping track of any extras. A good place for some postcard stamps! 😉

That’s the meat of it! A 12-month calendar year planner with some impressive extras and plenty of blank space for planning your weeks just how you like them!

Aesthetics/Design

The dream.plan.do planner has clear branding and is a unique size.

There are four cover options for this planner: cutie coral, fab chambray, paint stripe, and vacay print. I have the cutie coral planner cover. 🙂 The cutie coral is a fabric cover with gold foil accents. On the front cover of the planner you have “19” (for the year) and the name of the planner (dream.plan.do) debossed in gold foil. There is a gold foil border as well. The back cover repeats the name of the planner, centered in gold foil. Then you have the logo, website, and copyright information in debossed gold foil on the back cover. This planner comes with gold metal corner protectors, so if you carry your planner around a lot it won’t get to dinged up!

The DPD planner measures 7.875″ x 11.25” x 1.5″ thick (outside dimensions, including spiral). The gold wire-o binding is on the bigger side, which means that it will accommodate stickers fairly well. It’s a long, narrow planner. The pages are sized 6.25″ x 11″. This planner has some heft to it, but it isn’t overly heavy. You get an elastic band to keep everything closed and together.

lake and loft 2019-21

The DPD planner uses full-color printing throughout. The printing is crisp and none of the colors have come out faded. All of the text in this planner is a dark, nonmetallic gold. There is enough contrast to keep the text easy to read, even with a lighter hue. It will be a bit lighter on the eyes, of course.

There are two main fonts used throughout this planner. You have a serif font, usually in italics, to denote headings. The serif font in the DPD planner is also all-lowercase, stylistically. That is simply part of the lake+loft branding style, so it continues throughout the planner. The second font is a sans serif, regular weight used for numbers (dates, etc.) and days of the week in the weekly spread (M, T, etc.). You will find this font used for notes that instruct you on how to use the planner, as well as in subheadings.

lake and loft 2019-13

This planner has mylar-coated tabs in a dark, muted gold. There are two super long tabs for the Dream and Plan sections of the planner, then the months are depicted by number–01 to 12.

lake and loft 2019-12

The monthly tabbed pages are thick cardstock with alternating colors that match the overall aesthetic theme of the planner. These colors appear again throughout the planner, to brighten up the money tree and to flag the daily boxes in your weekly spreads.

The lake+loft dream.plan.do planner is a bright planner with lots of extras. There is a consistent aesthetic and a design that manages to be both colorful and simple to follow. You have plenty of white space on all of the pages–you never feel like your planner is cluttered. The muted gold textual color choice makes this planner visually light to look at and contributes nicely to its overall aesthetic. This planner is both fun and functional with design choices inspired by the Michigan lakefront!

Fit

Pen test tiiiime!

lake+loft uses a 100 gsm/70 lb text weight white paper. The texture is a little toothy, so I would recommend rollerball/ballpoint over felt tip. The only bleed through (and it was pretty light) came from the Stabilo point 88, Pilot Varsity fountain pen, and (of course) the Sharpie permanent marker. While the paper handled brush stroke pens quite well (like Tombow), the porous nature of the paper made especially inky pens feather a bit. Personally, I enjoyed using the Pilot Juice 0.38, Poppin Pen, and Zebra Sarasa 05 on this paper. 🙂 Highlighters did fairly well, but I preferred the mildliner over heavier, inkier highlighters like the Stabilo Boss. There will be some ghosting with heavier (medium point, etc.) pens, but otherwise the paper feels nice and handles the majority of my pens well!

So, is the lake+loft dream.plan.do planner for you?

lake and loft 2019-7

First, I will share Robyn’s (lake+loft founder) response to this question, since she put it so beautifully:

our planners are a bit different than the typical planner. they are what we like to call “efficiently oversized”, so they tend to fall into the desktop planner category. that just means that it’s just slightly larger than a typical planner making it more roomy for capturing all your plans and big dreams! so it’s GREAT for people with lots of goals and projects to track, endless to-do lists, meetings, sticker obsessions 🙂 you name it!  it’s perfectly sized for spreading out on your desk, but is also compact and portable enough for those who like to take the show on the road in a tote or laptop bag. if you’re looking for a teeny tiny planner, this is probably not your jam. but if you write big, are crazy busy or just like space to spread out, you’ll totally love this planner.

I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants the prompting for setting goals and pursuing dreams, but needs an open format to explore what that means for them. This planner gives you the space to write everything out, but doesn’t force you to define it a certain way or follow a specific set of goal-planning guidelines. This is also reflected in the weekly spread, which provides a barebones foundation for you to work from each day.

If you want to include financial planning in your planning process but are overwhelmed by complex budgeting systems (no shame!), then this planner’s monthly bills + moneytree format is easy to use. It’s a good place to start looking at where your money goes each month and how you might begin to manage it and save some. Plus, it’s colorful! 😉

I would recommend this planner to anyone with big handwriting! This planner has the space you need for your gorgeous, sweeping letters! More a fan of wide-ruled than college-ruled? This planner gets you.

lake and loft 2019-18

Of course, my small handwriting also made it easy to pack a lot into each day. If your days are super different from one to the next and you need the space to accommodate those changes, then the DPD planner’s blank vertical boxes are great. For some reason I also feel like this planner’s weekly spread would be great for artists who like to draw in the margins.

I would recommend this planner to anyone who needs that openness but still wants a structured and beautiful planning canvas to work from. If you usually mean to send that thank you or birthday note but tend to forget, then this planner will help you stay on top of that. If you want a bright and colorful planner but need it to be classy as well, then this planner fits the bill. This would make an excellent desk planner but is a bit inconvenient to carry around all day.

lake and loft 2019-20

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who needs that stark contrast between black ink and white paper to comfortably use their planner. There is literally no black text in this planner except for what you might write onto its pages. So if you think it would strain your eyes to make out the lighter text color, this might not be the planner for you.

I would not recommend this planner for anyone who wants a portable planner to take around with them all day every day. It’s going to get heavy in your bag. It would be fine as a take to work and then take home everyday planner, but I wouldn’t recommend that a student carry it around all day from class to class. This is a large planner with a large coil, so I personally think it lives its best life on your desk or kitchen counter–wherever you like to plan! 🙂

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who really needs a lot of structure to keep them on track. If you basically want your planner to be a “fill in the blanks” workbook that guides you through each day (and you might need that!), then this planner likely won’t work for you.

Loves

I love the quality of this planner–it felt like a $55 planner, which makes its actual price tag ($39 but on sale right now) super reasonable. I love all the extras in the back, from the thank you postcards to the gift tracker. I love the specific and consistent aesthetic of this planner, and how Robyn knows her brand and sticks to it. The result is a polished design that looks purposeful and thought-out. I love the openness of this planner design, as well. Lots of space in the weekly and monthly spreads for whatever you need!

Nopes

It works, but I do wish the text was a little darker. It also throws me off a little that it is a dream.plan.do planner but there are only dream and plan sections. The lines are a little wide-rule for me, but that is a personal preference. I also wish that Saturday and Sunday each had their own box rather than sharing one, but that is, again, my personal preference.


There you have it! My review of the 2019 lake+loft dream.plan.do planner! Were there any details I missed that you have questions about? Leave a comment–I love to hear from you all! ❤

Until next time!

xoxo
Ara

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