Hi Scrappinmyson! There is no ignorance here. We are all here to help one another and we are glad you have joined our neighborhood. Everyone here is a friendly bunch!
Everyone seems to have their own opinion of what the best adhesive is and I am counting on "everyone" to jump in and tell you theirs! Mine is Xyron (LOVE the X and the 500 model!) I also use basic plain doublesided photo mounts (in a box of 750 for between $2-4).
Cropping parties are where people gather to spend a bit of time working on layouts and learning/teaching new techniques. Many LSS's and Michaels too have coprring nights. They are worth going to if you've never been to one. Some scrapbook companies, like Creative Memories, have workshops and crop parties hosted by their consultants. I believe Stampin Up works this way too. Those are great for seeing new product and learning new techniques too.