The most important part of your question, I think is about the circular knitting. The 'pretty' part should be on the outside. Take a look at how you are holding your needles. They should be closest to you with the cord and majority of the knitted stitches away from you. Some people prefer to knit on the inside and then turn the whole thing inside out, but I'm not sure that that works in every situation.
As for the ends, I personally would secure them because the item does go through agitation as it felts and it would be a shame if something came loose then.
"Trust the pattern!"
Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.
Hop aboard while we follow the cloud-covered van of knitting harmony, man!! Woooo!! --Hedgehog
IngridKH on Ravelry