You can do that, but it doesn't give traffic to the host blogs :( It might be better to pick one of the hosts and bookmark their forum page (does that make sense?).
To answer the other questions; hosts will now have the word HOST before their name and Chat Leaders will add CL before their name so you know who they are. Alternatively, hosts and chat leaders can add the CL or HOST button as their profile picture.
As far as the colors, you should NOT see the options tab with color choices, etc on the forum. There was a kink earlier where the full admin system showed up everywhere which is not good. When one change is made in those settings, it affects the forum on every host's blog, not just on your personal computer, so if that happens again, please holla and let me know!
I am still trying to figure out if we can make reading more user friendly. As far as I know, there is no way to see what you have previously read or get notifications aside from the email notifications. You CAN click 'topic view' to see what people are commenting on lately, but thus far that is the only solution I've found. If you find something else, PLEASE SHARE!
I had a hard time registering. When I didn't get the confirmation email, there was no way to contact the forum because you have to be registered first! Viscous cycle! I finally just re-registered (had to change my name because the name I registered first was already taken -- BY ME! -- but never activated. Whew. I'm in now. Look out. :-)