I think you are doing well! Personally, I would stay with reaper as long as you can, they just released version 4 as well! I've tried most all expensive DAWS, and see no real measurable gain with any of them! In fact, I like it more than most, especially ones that have a million windows to get to (hidden features) which reaper shows perfectly clearly in a well organized environment!
As far a VSTs go, Plugs I can't really go without are:
Isotope ozOne: a great mastering plug, I use it in combination with:
PSP Vintage warmer - which is a great compressor, great for individual tracks, it also has a brickwall limiter, and I always use it in mastering.
If you are using amp sims - start using Cab impulses, bypass the cabs in guitar rig/amplitube, and you can put these after the amp. I reccomend you get the "guitarhack guitar impulse" pack, and to use them, you can download an "impulse loader" like voxengo boogex, or KEfir, or you could even use REAPER's "reaVerb", and use it to load the file. This is the missing link to getting amp sims to sound great!
Also, A recommend both ampltube AND guitar rig, they both do different things very well, GR can't touch the clean tones in AT. etc. You can get amplitube custom shop free, i very much recommend that.
Also, It's important to have a good library of samples/VSTi, I recommend starting with the "titanic GM soundfont" it is general midi compliant, and sounds great. you will need a soundfont loader to use them, a good choice is "SFZ". and you use it like any other VSTi, it just reads the midi on a track, just like GM, channel 10 is percussion.
Also, check out out the "tweakheadz recording guide", great info for everything! Pick up a couple of craig anderton books if you would like, and check out the reaper forum, TONS of info there!!!
Well, I think I've cover everything.
oh btw - Voxengo SPAN is useful too, so you can get that, It doesn't "do" much, but its a solid spectrum analyzer.
Here is my soundclick, everything here uses the plugins I mentioned, and I'm using reaper. http://www.soundclick.com/bands/defa...bandID=1160520
Here are some books on reaper, every time I think I've figure everything out on it, I find something new! http://www.lulu.com/product/paperbac...reaper/6526524 http://www.amazon.com/REAPER-Power-C.../dp/1598638793