I have finally gotten a reasonable amount of modules installed on my new portfolio site. Context and Display Suite are my choices for layout. I also like Bean for custom fieldable blocks.
The big decision today was which direction I would go for a theme. I wanted to use a strong sub-theme so that I could leverage the coding goodness of my betters, but I also wanted to start with a blank slate design-wise. I went with adaptivetheme because it does not seem as bloated as its main competitor, Zen. I created a blank subtheme and set up SASS. I am anxious to get some styling on my new site, but the goal here is to learn this new system, so low-design is the price I pay, at least in the short term.
I have decided to use Context Mobile Detect to handle block visibility on mobile devices. Unlike other modules that allow you to hide block on mobile devices via the block configuration page, Context Mobile Detect simply adds a condition to the Contexts within which I am already placing my blocks. An added benefit is that Contexts are exportable via Features, while block settings, not so much. This will be particularly useful when I make Installation Profiles.