After literally months of researching, planning and waiting, a deal finally came through that I had to pull the trigger on. I had originally planned on an i5-3550P and a cheaper motherboard, but when the 3570K + a better ASUS mobo was a shellshocker deal on Newegg, I couldn't pass it up. I also used this site and many of the community builds for research and inspiration.
The build took longer than I thought, but everything came together pretty well for a first timer. The cables had a tough time fitting in the back and probably could have done a bit better with cable management (the 8 pin power cable wasn't long enough to fit through the back, for example), but overall things are quiet and fast! I did have to remove the side fan from the case and re-installed it on the other side to provide more cooling behind the motherboard.
Obviously I hadn't planned on overclocking but it seems like I'd have no problem doing so in the future if I decide to. I got a nice deal ($50 off) a 23" Samsung S23C350H which I'll list when it shows up here. I'll try to post the benchmark temperatures when I fire the thing up again.