ok... after weeks of searching/researching... i have finally made my decision! i chose alphaomegahosting.com for my webhost!
i will post back after a while and update.. whether good or bad!
i had narrowed it down to 2 companies... and what put me over the edge was: length of time in business (the 2nd choice was relatively new); and the patience with answering all my dumb newbie questions!!!!!