Studying For PcM, PjM and CE

A short blurb about why it’s taking me so long to get through one 2-hour class and why it’s important that it does.

[2.5 hours] Young Architects Academy: Contracts B101 – part one, watch video.

What I need to step in and say here is that “watch video” is very insufficient terminology for what actually takes place. Watching the video entails watching a brief (1-2 sentence) piece of the video, pausing the video to take notes, pulling up the contract file and reading the full text referred to in the video, sometimes re-watching the brief segment of the video, and then finally moving on to the next 1-2 sentence segment.

The idea of studying for the ARE is that, if you do it well, the process of studying will help you to become a better architect. Rushing through the material won’t satisfy that goal. Sure you might pass a test here or there, but you won’t really understand the material and how it’s used to enhance the practice of architecture.

My goal is to become a better architect. The B101 – part one video is over 2 hours long. At this point I’ve spent more than double that time with it and am only at the beginning of article 3, out of 13. That’s to be expected and should be planned for. If something takes less time, great, but if not, you’ll be prepared. My next task is going to be to take the notes I’ve taken so far and create flashcards of the material.

When I’ve created flashcards, I use them whenever possible and that time might not appear in this list. If I’m in line at the grocery store I can get through quite a few cards. If I’m waiting at the doctors office, I can maybe get through another stack. I use Quizlet, so they are always accessible through the app on my phone.

Hours added today: 2.5 PcM

Total PcM, PjM, CE Study Time: 10 hours

Total PPD, PDD Study Time: 0 hours

Total PA Study Time: 0 hours

General Study Time: 3.5 hours

Total ARE Study Time (overall): 13.5 hours

Total Weeks into Studying: 5

(new weeks added on Sundays)

Studying For PcM, PjM and CE

[2 hours] Young Architects Academy: Contracts B101 – part one, watch video

[30 minutes] Trello: Adding NCARB information about PcM from the ARE handbook to Trello cards

Hours added today: 2.5 hours PcM

Total PcM, PjM, CE Study Time: 7.5 hours

Total PPD, PDD Study Time: 0 hours

Total PA Study Time: 0 hours

General Study Time: 3.5 hours

Total ARE Study Time (overall): 11 hours

Total Weeks into Studying: 5

(new weeks added on Sundays)

Indiana: Michigan City – El Cantarito

Cantarito is our favorite Mexican Restaurnat in the area and has the best carne asada I’ve ever had.

El Cantarito: Michigan City

336 Dunes Plaza, Michigan City, IN 46360

An unassuming store front in a strip mall conceals our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Cantarito. We have a date night every Tuesday and this is one of our go-to spots for our date night meal. The atmosphere includes fin murals on the walls with a nice mix of booths and tables. We almost always request a booth and have never had to wait for one, even when the restaurant is busy.

img_2085Tonight I ordered my favorite, Carne Asada, cooked as rare as possible. One of the problems I often have with this dish is that it often tastes as if it’s been seasoned with beef bullion. This NOT the case at El Cantarito. Their Carne Asada has the most amazing, fresh flavor I’ve ever had and I have trouble remembering that I should take half of it home for the next day. There is a lot of food included with the meal and it makes great leftovers. Tonight the flavor was just slightly lacking its usual intensity and I found it a bit easier to save half for later.img_2086 My fiancé also enjoys the Carne Asada (although he didn’t have it tonight) because there is no dairy included on the plate, so he doesn’t have to mention his allergy when ordering. The other thing I appreciate about the Carne Asada here is that when I order it rare, it actually arrives rare, which is not easy to do with such a thin cut of meat. I also appreciate the accompaniment of real beans instead of the typical refried beans. The texture of whole beans pairs a little better with the other ingredients when building the tortilla.

img_2082Tonight my fiancé ordered a favorite, the Chicken Fajitas. While the fajitas here don’t normally come with cheese or sour cream, he does still have to mention “no dairy” because they do come with refried beans, which are typically topped with a sprinkling of queso blanco, white cheese.  He must have been very hungry tonight because he usually has some leftovers to bring home too, but tonight he finished the whole dish. He said the flavor was really good and everything tasted fresh. He didn’t want to ruin it with reheating.

We have long loved El Cantarito and this visit didn’t change that one bit. We will likely be back again at least once within the month. Perhaps I’ll use that opportunity to review one of my other favorite dishes.



Back at it – Planning to Study

With so much to study for the ARE, planning is a big and continual part of the process.

Today I has a zoom meeting with the Emerging Professionals Coordinator from my local AIA chapter and we discussed my plans for a chapter study group. We had a productive 40-minute meeting.

He will sending out inquiries over the next week to see if anyone is interested in participating and I will be working on organizing a Trello board for the study group and getting the outline prepped for out first exam… at least the beginning of it. With so much to study, planning is a big and continual part of the process. At least I finally feel like I’m moving forward again. Tomorrow I’ll hit the contracts class for at least 2 hours.

Hours added today: 2 General

Total PcM, PjM, CE Study Time: 5 hours

Total PPD, PDD Study Time: 0 hours

Total PA Study Time: 0 hours

General Study Time: 3.5 hours

Total ARE Study Time (overall): 8.5 hours

8/5/19 – 9/8/19 – Unplanned Days Off

Unplanned days off can be a very dangerous thing when studying for the ARE. I’m going to have to readjust my test taking schedule because of these!

Unplanned days off can be a dangerous thing. I’m definitely going to have to readjust my exam taking schedule after this, but that simply can’t be helped.

We decided to buy a house and take a long road trip. Well, I didn’t exactly decide, but it’s been decided. Oh, and I have also been asked to prepare exhibits of my artwork for 2 local galleries. I’ve been working my butt off all month, but haven’t made any additional progress towards studying for the ARE.

The Emerging Professionals Coordinator from my local AIA chapter did finally return my email right before our road trip about starting up a virtual ARE study group within our local chapter. I had the idea to start and coordinate one several months ago, but it looks like we’ll progress with it over zoom tomorrow. Where did the summer go?!?!

Hours added today: None

Total PcM, PjM, CE Study Time: 5 hours

Total PPD, PDD Study Time: 0 hours

Total PA Study Time: 0 hours

General Study Time: 1.5 hours

Total ARE Study Time (overall): 6.5 hours

Indiana: Michigan City – Hokkaido

Hokkaido is within walking distance for us and one of our go-to spots for a quick and tasty Japanese meal.


725 Franklin St, Michigan City, Indiana

It was the first Friday of September for this visit and first Fridays in downtown Michigaimg_2067n City are busy. Tonight was no exception and Hokkaido was very busy as well. We waited quite a while for everything from being seated, to getting our food, to getting the check. Since we weren’t in a hurry, this pace was fine for us. We ordered teriyaki chicken as an entrée, miso soup, and three sushi rolls to start… ice mountain, tara, and tempura shrimp. Our teriyaki chicken came out well before our sushi. The sushi chefs were very busy, so it was understandable, but usually we prefer to eat the sushi first.

  • The miso soup arrived first and my fiancé found it to be a bit saltier than usual.
  • The teriyaki chicken (above) was well prepared, appropriately sauced, and served on a sizzling hot platter that continued to caramelize the bed of onions as we dug in. It was very good.
  • The sushi arrived. just as we were finishing the chicken. These were 3 rolls we had not tried before and we looked forward to the new flavors.
    • The tara roll (left) contains tempura shrimp and is topped with rare beef andimg_2068 caviar. It is very spicy, but the surf and turf combination in sushi gives a unique, smoky, savory taste and we really enjoyed the new flavors.
    • The ice mountain roll (middle) was a request by my fiancé and I have to confess I didn’t pay much attention to what was in it. It was covered in a jalapeño sauce and looked to be topped with a piece of white fish. I tried one piece and although it was not as spicy as the tara roll, I didn’t particularly enjoy the flavor of jalapeño on my sushi. My fiancé was quite happy to have the rest of the roll to himself.
    • The shrimp tempura roll (right) is one of the basic rolls and includes shrimp and cucumber. It was a nice cooling roll after the spicy tara roll and I really like the tempura crunch.

Hokkaido is within walking distance for us and one of our go-to spots for a quick and tasty Japanese meal. Tonight may not have been as quick as we are used to, but the food was still delicious and we had a good evening.

2019 Road Trip – Day 9: Cleveland

Today we poked around the Cleveland, Ohio area before driving the last leg of our trip home. Ohio’s only National Park is really something to be seen!

We started our last day on the road with a great complimentary breakfast at our hotel. The Residence Inn by Marriot in Mentor, OH was a fantastic place to stay and we would have liked to spend more time there.


Our first excursion in the Cleveland area was to visit Ohio’s only National Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is about a 30 minute drive south of the city. This National Park offers free admission, so it was right in our budget. We only wanted to spend a couple hours there, so we headed to the Boston Store Visitors Center to ask what we absolutely shouldn’t miss. I recommend doing this first because there are 125 miles of trails and you could easily spend a week or two seeing it all. Our guide told us to focus our energy on the Ledges trail and it was the perfect morning hike for us.

First we went to see the Ledges Overlook. The rock formations were beautiful and the view over the Ohio countryside was fantastic.

Next we doubled back through the parking lot and headed down the trail towards the Ice Box Cave. The cave itself was closed to protect the bats, but the trail took us through an amazing labyrinth of moss covered rock formations that glowed like the Emerald City in Oz when the sun hit them just right. This was an easy hike, but does have quite a few stairs at the end, so be prepared. My knees managed to hold up ok.


By the time we found our way back to the parking lot, we were ready for lunch. In the Cleveland area, one of the coolest places to go for lunch is the West Side Market. We had a great time walking around the market and picking up small bites from various vendors for lunch. I stuck to a Parisian themed lunch of savory crepe and macaroons and enjoyed every bite. We took our epicurean treasures outside to an area of tables across the street. Note that you can park in the market parking lot free for 90 minutes, but after that it is $1/hour. Our market adventure cost us $1 + food.

We left the market stuffed and satisfied and started making our was home. We made a quick stop in Angola, IN for dinner at Applebees along the way, but otherwise drove straight through. It was getting late in the day and we wanted to get home before midnight. We arrived home at 9:30 and were unpacked and in bed by 10:30 after a thoroughly enjoyable vacation.

Our final stats for the 2019 Road Trip:

  • Elapsed time: 9 days, 8 nights
  • States visited: 6 (Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania)
  • Major Cities visited: 2 (Cleveland, Buffalo, Salem, Boston, New York, Allentown, Pittsburgh)
  • Miles driven: 2,590
  • Steps taken: 85,536 (I had good step days and then days we were mostly in the car where I only got around 4,000. The overall average was 9,504 steps/day… not bad.)
  • Attractions/Sites visited: over 20+
  • National Park Sites Visited: 7
  • State Parks Sites Visited: 5
  • Hard Rock Shot Glasses added to collection: 4 (Boston, Connecticut, Bronx NYC, Pittsburgh – we also visited Niagara Falls HRC but we already have a glass from there)
  • Budget: $2200 ($2199.47 actually spent)