What did I end up choosing? I think you'll be surprised. If anyone's reading, feel free to comment and guess! I've made a bit of progress since Sunday night, and hope to have a finished sweater tomorrow night (on deadline!)
While out on Sunday, I also stopped by my LYS (it's only taken me 3 visits to declare it mine). I had picked up a set of square dpns by Kollage last time, and can I just say, LOVE them!
You may not be able to tell from the pictures, but each one is neatly labeled with the company name and size -- both US & mm. But more importantly, they're squared off -- and it actually makes it really easy to knit off of! I don't know why this hasn't been popularized yet. Especially for the smaller size (these are US 2s), I found that I hardly had to dig for the stitch. So I went and picked up a circular needle in the same family, and will report back once I've had a chance to use it.