Re: the page_blog, your suggestion led me to the problem - I had mistakenly placed the ID of the blog category into the "page_blog.php" file, when I just needed to assign the blog category via the Lifestyle Settings Page. So the blog page section appears to be functioning now. (Thanks!)
As for the repeating page, I double checked that the 'featured top left' and the WP reading settings are both set to show '10 posts'. I also confirmed that:
Template Name: Blog
is at the top of page_blog.php.
I'm going to PM you the link to my site to see if you can see anything that I may have done wrong. Thanks again for your help!