The HT Blue Pro is a slick little rod and an excellent value. I picked up the 26" UL noodle rod for $10 online. The top guide is misaligned, but it doesn't affect fishing. The Blue and Blue Pro are known for having misaligned guides, so it's probably best to buy them in person. You can't feel a thing with these rods, but they show every little bite. I bought it for my girlfriend's young kid. It's a perfect fit for them.
I can recommend some Fischer stuff; not too spendy. Otherwise, with yer money, around $175-$225 for a really good barometer, hygrometer, and temp gauge. I might let ya look at mine Saturday if yer really nice.