Monday, February 22, 2016

How to Start Living a Healthier Lifestyle Easily - Featuring The Leaf by Bellabeat

One of the ultimate goals in life for many people is to be healthy in all aspects of their lives. I know that is for certain one of my ultimate goals. It is definitely challenging and tough at times, but it's totally doable, especially when you have a plan, support system and various things to help you along the way. I have tried many diets, plans, and other ways to get healthy and have failed. After many years of trial and error, I have finally found a few ways to live a healthier lifestyle without compromising my happiness and overall well-being. 

A little backstory about me and my health journey: For most of my life, I have been overweight. It's something that I have learned to accept but at the same time knowing that in the long run, it can cause problems and now that I am getting older, I want to be as healthy as I can personally be, no matter how many baby steps I have to take. I didn't get this way overnight, and it's not going to change overnight either. One thing that helps me feel not so overwhelmed is reminding myself that eating healthy and exercising shouldn't be a punishment. I try to look at is as if I am rewarding my body for everything it does for me. This is a lifestyle change, and not a fad diet. I can still eat the foods I love (my weaknesses are cheese, Hot Cheetos and sweets) but in moderation and/or altering the way the are prepped and cooked.

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.

Let me just state right now that I am in no way a doctor, nutritionist, fitness trainer, etc., so what works for me, may not work for you. I know that these foods aren't perfect, nor are they totally considered "clean" or "whole". This is just what works for me and I strongly believe that moderation and balance is key. You are definitely free to tweak any of these foods to your liking!

Over the years I have learned that if I eat a healthy, balanced and filling breakfast, I'm a lot less likely to eat unhealthy foods throughout the day. One of my favorite breakfast is a copycat version of Starbucks' Spinach and Feta Breakfast Wrap. It is SO delicious and keeps me full and energized for hours. I follow this recipe but substitute the lavash/tortilla with a Light Flat Out Wrap.

Photo Credit
For lunch, I also love using those same wraps (wraps are my thing) and I stuff it with grilled chicken breast strips (I buy large three packs from Costco for convenience) spicy hummus as a substitute for mayonnaise (Sabra's Supremely Spicy is my all time favorite), fresh spinach and/or romaine lettuce, fresh tomato slices and bell pepper slices. If I decide to have cheese in the wrap, I sometimes use Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges or thinly sliced provolone cheese. Super satisfying and yummy!

One of my favorite dinners lately has been a lightened up version of  Japanese Curry. If you haven't yet noticed, I LOVE spicy food. This meal calls for a little more work and prep than the breakfast and lunch, but its SO worth it because believe me when I say that this dish is scrumptious!

Firstly, I make the brown rice so it can cook whilst I make everything else. I follow this recipe by Martha Stewart.

Now for the curry:

2 whole boneless and skinless chicken breasts
3 whole carrots chopped
1-2 russet potato(s) chopped (washed)
1 yellow onion chopped
1/2 of a 8.4-oz package of Golden Curry Extra Hot Sauce Mix (I purchase mine at a Japanese market but can also be found on Amazon. You may also find it at a chain grocery store if they have a Japanese food section)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (you can substitute with an oil spray if you'd like)
4 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
Serves 2-4

In a medium-large pot, sautée onions on medium-high until they are translucent with extra virgin olive oil (or spray) then add potatoes and carrots and cook for another 5 so they flavors can combine, then add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. As your doing this, lightly pan fry the chicken breasts (or bake them if you'd like) with extra virgin olive oil (or spray) and season with salt and pepper until they are fully cooked and set aside.
Once the potatoes and carrots are soft, turn down the heat to medium and add the Golden Curry cubes (half package) and stir until fully dissolved and sauces thickens. Once that is done, serve with the brown rice on one side, and the vegetable curry mixture on the other side and place the chicken (cut into slices) on top of the curry and add some sauce over the chicken and viola! ENJOY!
Sorry this isn't the best photo! Also, this is white rice pictured because it was all that I had on hand that day.
My biggest vice is snacking and it's probably the hardest aspect of healthy eating for me to control. Luckily there are so many options out there to help curb my cravings. Some of my favorite snacks are kale chips, baby carrots dipped in hummus, fruit, and if my cravings for something salty and crispy are really intense, I'll treat myself to a serving of baked Hot Cheetos or Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps.

I'm the type of person that will never say no to dessert. It's one of the greatest joys in my life! I have found a few healthy ways to satisfy my sweet tooth without going overboard with calories and sugar. One that is really simple and satisfying is one that I like to call "banana sushi". It's really simple. All I do I grab a FlatOut wrap, add some PB2 Powdered Chocolate Peanut Butter (which has 85% less calories and fat than traditional peanut butter) and a whole banana. Sometimes I like to add unsweetend coconut flakes for some crunch. Wrap it up nice and tight and simply slice it like sushi! YUM.

So as you can see, I do NOT like deprive myself. When I do, I tend to fall off the wagon and go back to my old eating habits. I still eat what I love, but try to be more conscious of what I consume. A good rule of thumb for me is low sugar, high protein and I also drink lots and lots of water. I have a reusable 32oz water bottle that I'm constantly filling up throughout the day. When I want something other than water, I love iced black tea sweetened with stevia and sometimes I will treat myself with a diet coke. I don't drink alcohol too often (only socially and for special occasions) but when I do I'll have a light beer or wine.
I really love MyFitnessPal which is an app that help you track your calorie intake, exercise and more. It has helped me tremendously to lose weight and visualize what I'm consuming. I highly recommend downloading it (it's free!) and giving it a try. It's awesome!

I used to go to the gym regularly, but I stopped because I didn't really enjoy the environment, so I figured out a way to workout at home that's both enjoyable and effective. I like to mix it up so I don't get bored and I try my best to do a mixture of these 4-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes. Here are some of my favorite ways to get moving and sweating:

I absolutely love music and I love to dance. I've been to Zumba classes before and enjoyed it, but money adds up quickly. One day I was browsing YouTube and came across a few YouTube channels that have fun and easy to follow Zumba-style workouts! I LOVE doing these and it feels like a party instead of a workout. This is definitely one of my favorite ways to be active and best of all, it's FREE.

Disclaimer: Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning these or any other exercise program. Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. By engaging in these workouts, you agree that you do so at your own risk, and assume all associated risk of injury. 

Here are the channels that I enjoy:

Shine Dance Fitness (they offer online classes as well!)

Another channel that I really enjoy when I don't feel like dancing is Jessica Smith TV. She uploads fun workouts that are for people that like to workout at home/have a small workout space. She offers many types of workouts like strength training, beginner workouts, cardio and so much more!

On days I want to get out of the house, I bring my dog with me and I go on a power walk/jog. I live by the beach so some days I walk/jog along the boardwalk. Other times I stay on my block and circle it about 4-5 times which is equivalent to about a mile and half. One trick I do to burn extra calories is to walk the lengths of the side walk and run the corners. This helps me get my heart-rate up and helps build endurance. Once I start to get more used to doing that and it isn't a challenge anymore, I do the opposite and run the lengths of the sidewalk and walk the corners.

Something that is new to me but has been around for a while and that has been beneficial to a lot of people are fitness trackers. I have always been intrigued by them and wondered if they would truly help me with my lifestyle. There are so many trackers on the market and it can be a little overwhelming to choose one. One day I was on Facebook and a friend of mine tagged me in a photo of a new fitness tracker. It is called The Leaf by Bellabeat. Right away, I was drawn in because this isn't your standard fitness tracker. It is gorgeous. It looks more like a piece of jewelry than a traditional fitness tracker which are usually bulky and not typically aesthetically pleasing. Since I was in the market for one and have my blog as a platform to introduce you guys to awesome products, I decided to contact them and see if they would want to send me one to review. They were more than happy to provide one, and I have had a few weeks to try it out and let you guys know what I think about it.


The BellaBeat Leaf is a small-medium wearable fitness tracker.  It's beautiful, and features a pretty leaf motif (hypoallergenic stainless steel) and is available in silver ($119.99 USD) and recyclable American ashwood in a neutral beige color or rose gold and African blackwood ($149.99 USD). It is really quite a beautiful piece of work and it's a refreshing change from the usual wearable fitness trackers.

What I love most about this device is that you can wear it in many different ways. It comes with a chain to wear it as a necklace or the option of a leather strap to wear as a bracelet. Also, the leaf itself is a clip so you can wear it as sort of a brooch. You can clip it to your top, bra, waistband, etc. The Leaf does not come with a charger since it runs on a coin-cell battery that should last around 6 months or so. The Leaf also comes with a small special screwdriver to take the back off the Leaf to change the battery once the time comes. The Leaf also does not have a display, but it works along with a free official app. All you need to do is sync the device with the app and it'll track your activity and sleep. One thing that is a little annoying is that you need to sync the device by gently tapping it twice every time you open the app. Nothing too bad, but I wish it would sync automatically.

The Leaf is marketed towards women since it tracks menstruation which is a feature that I have not seen in other devices and I believe is quite useful if tracking your cycle is important to you. It was definitely designed and branded with women in mind. If you don't menstruate and you like the design of the Leaf, that feature is ignorable. You can also set it up to remind you take pills and it tracks your sleep and detects if you had a restful night or not. The Leaf's other features are ones that are typically found in a fitness tracker. It tracks your daily activity such as steps, breathing and calories burned (calculated based on your steps/activity, age and weight). You can also set it up to gently vibrate to remind you if you've been inactive too long. One thing that is does not track is your heartrate.

Here is a screenshot of some of my activity from a day I went on a brisk walk:

I'm not sure if this is 100% accurate, but I think it definitely helps me visualize my activity and it is extremely helpful for me. It helps me see if I need to move more on a daily basis and it's cool to collect all my data day to day.

Another unique feature about The Leaf is that it tracks your breathing and stress levels which is useful for people that like to mediate and are prone to anxiety like myself. The app has a section that is dedicated to the breathing exercises. It doesn't necessarily track your stress levels but rather encourages you to perform the breathing exercise which will help you feel less stressed overall. To some it may seem a bit gimmicky, but if you're someone that likes structure and need a reminder, it's a neat feature.

If you are interested in The Leaf by Bellabeat, then definitely check out their website and join the waiting list to get your hands on this gorgeous fitness tracker:

Bellabeat on Social Media




Overall, I really enjoy this device and as a fashion conscious person, I really enjoy that it's stylish yet functional. I don't have any other fitness tracker experience, so I can't really compare it to other devices. I do wish it was water resistant, and that it synced automatically and in the background, and that the necklace was longer and a little thicker (I feel like the The Leaf is a little heavy for the size of the chain and because of that it's a little uncomfortable on my neck) but other than that, I was pretty impressed with this device.
I really hope you guys enjoyed this post and found it helpful. Please let me know if you'd like more health and fitness type of posts in the future! I have many more recipes and tips I'd like to share with you all. My whole philosophy and motto for this lifestyle is to do what feels right for you. If an exercise is too difficult, take it easy. It'll get easier the more you do it. Don't deprive yourself of what you love. If you love cheesecake for example, have it! Allow yourself a cheat day and workout an extra day, or a little longer on one of your regular days. And if you don't, it's OKAY! Life happens and it isn't healthy to beat yourself up over it. Like I mentioned earlier, do what feels good and what makes you happy and make it fun!

What are your favorite healthy recipes and what are some tips that have helped you achieve a healthier lifestyle? Leave a comment below and let me know. I love learning new tips and tricks and trying new recipes!

Take care!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Foundation & STEP1 Skin Equallizer Review + Swatches

Another year, another foundation that's hopped aboard the hype train! I have seen this foundation all over YouTube and Instagram lately as well as my local Sephora raving about it so I thought I would review it for you guys as well as compare it to the older Make Up For Ever HD Foundation formula which I absolutely loved. If you are interested in a review of the old formula, check it out HERE

Sadly the old formula has been discontinued and has been replaced with the new Ultra HD foundation. With 4k technology, the next generation of digital devices will display images with unbelievable detail, stunning clarity, and heightened color than existing HD technology. Make Up For Ever claims this foundation is completely invisible under the latest, ultra-magnified resolution, and that the new formula looks completely natural on camera—and to the naked eye. 

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.


Make Up For Ever claims that this is a medium-buildable coverage foundation which I happen to agree with. My skin is combination/oily with acne scars and some discoloration and it covered and evened out my skin tone quite well, although I did need some extra help with concealer. I do like that the product is buildable but for some reason, it didn't look natural on me. You can clearly tell that there is foundation on my skin and it's actually a little powdery looking on me. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not what the product claims. It does however photograph and film beautifully.


One of the absolute best things about this product is the HUGE range of shades that they have available. Currently, there are 40 shades in various undertones which is amazing! You are bound to find a shade that matches you. I was sent the three lightest shades available in the range and I was impressed at how light Y205 Alabaster is! It is too light for me which rarely happens so it will be perfect for you extra fair people out there! My match is Y215 Yellow Alabaster and as you can see from the swatches, it's hardly noticeable.
Taken with flash indoors
Taken with no flash and natural light


I wore this every day for about two weeks, and while it's not a bad foundation, I feel like their older formula was a lot better. This one is a lot thinner in consistency and it does not stand up against the oily parts of my face, even with a primer. After about 3 hours, it's almost completely worn off on my nose and chin. Before it wears off though, it does look nice and it looks great in photos and video. I feel like this foundation is best to be worn for short periods of time, like for photo/video shoots which I feel like is it's main purpose. The foundation does not irritate my sensitive skin and has no detectable scent.


Although this is a highly raved about product, I do not think it's worth the hype, at least not for my skin type. Like I stated before, it is by no means a bad foundation and I believe that it would be amazing for someone with normal skin with little to no skin issues, or for someone who works in front of the camera often. It just doesn't work for me and I really wanted to love it, especially since I was such a big fan of the original HD foundation. The color range is wonderful, as well as the packaging (gotta love pumps)! As for my rating, I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I do suggest going to your local Sephora to get a sample of this before purchasing if you want to try it out. You can also get color-matched while you're there. 
I was also sent four of their Step1 Skin Equalizers which are basically a primer. 

From MAKE UP FOR EVER's website:

MATTIFYING PRIMER is the answer to unwanted shine, fighting against excess oil to ensure a matte makeup result. Formulated with our specific Sebustop Vegetal Complex, this first step equalizer instantly reduces pore size and controls shine for a flawless makeup all day long.

SMOOTHING PRIMER instantly fills in and blurs imperfections for silky soft skin. This satiny, non-oily formula evens out skin texture by minimizing pores, wrinkles and fine lines. Skin looks resurfaced and perfectly smooth for a flawless makeup all day long.

HYDRATING PRIMER instantly quenches skin's thirst by helping boost and refreshing tired skin. Formulated with our specific H₂O Complex, it provides moisture transforming dehydrated skin into a supple, healthy, plump surface for a flawless makeup all day long.

NOURISHING PRIMER instantly replenishes dry and dehydrated skin with a moisture-rich soothing formula. Our specific Vegetal Complex feeds skin, hydrating and reviving it while antioxidants protect from the elements. Its rich and creamy texture melts on the skin to nourish and sooth. Restores elasticity and revitalizes skin to ensure a more uniform texture and a flawless makeup all day long.


As you can see in the photo above, these primers all have a very different consistency and they also perform differently from each other.

Mattifying Primer: This stuff is no joke - it's seriously matte. Like, paper matte. It dries really quickly so it's best to use this one on targeted areas such as the nose, chin, cheeks and forehead. A little goes a long way and if you use too much it feels heavy. It minimized my pores and although this does keep my skin looking matte, it also can make me look a little dry. I think this will work better for me once spring and summer are here.

Smoothing Primer: This does what it claims - it smooths and blurs my pores and fine lines giving my skin a soft focus effect. It glides on and feels and looks satiny against the skin. I'm a huge fan of this one! I try not to use too much though because if I do, it tends to ball up with my foundation. I also like to let it set for about five minutes before applying foundation.

Hydrating Primer: The great things about this primer are that it is super lightweight and it feels moisturizing. Sadly, this one doesn't work for me since I have oilier skin and it makes my foundation slip off. However, this is great for someone that has dry skin!

Nourishing Primer: This one is my favorite of the bunch! I feel like it's the perfect balance of the previous three primers. It helps my makeup stay on longer, it makes my foundation look smoother and my skin feels nourished. After applying this primer, it has a bit of a tacky/sticky finish which I like because I believe it helps my foundation stick to my face a lot better than without.
Have you tried or own this foundation and/or primer(s)? If so, what are your thoughts?

Find the MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Foundation and the STEP1 Equalizers at the following links or at your local Sephora store:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 Goals and Ambitions

Happy New Year, everyone! For me, 2016 will be the year of milestones and making positive changes in my life. Bows and Curtseys will be turning five and I will be turning thirty. Both are huge milestones in my book. I will never forget the day I decided to start this blog, and thinking that it would never go anywhere. Of course, I was pleasantly surprised. I remember being SO excited when I saw my first few followers, and the day I hit 100 followers was such a surreal experience for me. I've come a long way, and I still feel the same way about it all today.

I will also be saying goodbye to my "roaring 20s" this year. My 20s were definitely a roller-coaster ride full of ups, downs, loops, twists and turns. I experienced the best moments of my life as well and the most devastating, and everything in between. Through it all, I sit here today and look back at my life and realize that no matter what has happened in my life, even if it was good or bad, it has shaped who I am today and has led me to where I am as well. I have learned so much and I have grown tremendously and now at the end of 29, I can confidently and comfortably say that I finally know what life is all about for me. It's about making myself happy. It's about not worrying what others say or think about me. It's about being comfortable in who I am as a person. Once you focus on looking out for #1, everything else will fall into place. It took me a while to realize that, but once I understood it, life seemed to make sense. I'm hoping my 30s will be even more amazing than my 20s were (and hopefully have more ups than downs) and I am so ready to start this new chapter of my life!

This blog is my baby, and it has brought me many amazing opportunities and I have met some lovely people and have even made lifelong friends along the way. I have grown and changed a lot since it's conception, but change is a necessary thing in life; it's how we blossom, learn and grow. This year, I want Bows and Curtseys to be more than just a beauty blog. I want to expand my horizons and share more things that matter to me in my life. I want to share things about my lifestyle whether it be fitness, health, my favorite recipes, even advice on certain topics. I also want to start filming more tutorials!

From the outside, a makeup and beauty blog seems like something superficial when in fact, it's been quite the opposite for me. It has been an outlet to share and showcase my art to the world (when will people stop saying that makeup isn't an art?). Most of my makeup looks have been a form of expression in one way or another and it's a way for me to share what I'm feeling without getting too personal.

To those of you that have been with me from the very beginning, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would not be where I am today if it weren't for your constant love and support for me and my work. I truly and wholeheartedly am so eternally grateful. To my new readers, hello and thank you for being here as well. I look forward to continuing on with this blog and create more content for you all to enjoy! I am excited to see where 2016 and beyond will take us and I am glad you're all here for the ride!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swril Illuminator in Gilded Honey Review

Many trends come in and out of the makeup world, and one of the more recent and popular ones is called "strobing" which is essentially hardcore highlighting and ditching the contour. Not a look for me, but to each their own! However, I am a fan of highlighting my cheekbones and the more light my cheeks catch the better. I want to give a disco ball a run for it's money! 

This new highlighting product from Laura Geller is not only pretty to look at, but it also gives you that lit-from-within glow if applied sheerly, or in-your-face disco ball goodness if you decide to pack it on. It has a unique 3D design that resembles delicious Italian gelato and a hybrid texture that applies like a powder but feels like a cream which leaves a sheer, yet luminous glow that can almost be seen from space!

When I received this package in the mail, I was stunned by how pretty and metallic the highlighter was! Also, Laura Geller was awesome enough to also send out a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 which I used to take some photos of me with the product. The highlighter comes in a sleek and simple packaging, though it's not as high end looking as other high-end highlighters on the market. The actual product itself is absolutely beautiful with it's swirl pattern which emphasizes it's texture and brilliance. The texture of this highlighter is unique; it isn't powdery, nor is it creamy but it applies smoothly with little to no fallout.

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.

I like to apply this highlighter using either my finger tips or a large fluffy blending brush (sometimes both if I'm feeling fancy). Using your fingers will give you a much more concentrated look whilst using a brush will give you a more diffused finish. It's highly pigmented yet buildable so it's hard to go overboard with this.

Here it is applied to the cheek area:
I like to apply highlighter on the high points of my face. Here I have it applied on my cheek bones, tip of my nose, a little on the bridge of my nose and my cupid's bow.

Glided Honey is a gorgeous gold shade with a warn undertone. My skin is fair/light with neutral undertones and I feel like I can still pull off this highlight since I have warm toned hair and eyes, but I think it will best on people with light-medium to tan/darker skin. This highlighter also comes in a Rose Gold shade called Ballerina which I think would be more flattering for me and even lighter complexions. I love that this product doesn't have noticeable chunky glitter. It's more of a shimmer, similar to a metallic eyeshadow.
Also, this product is a lot more affordable than other highly-coveted highlighters on the market. At 4.5 g, the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator has a $26 price tag.
Overall, I this highlighter is great! It leaves my skin looking luminous, radiant, and glowy. It wears for a good 6-8 hours without fading AND it doesn't accentuate my pores. I'm definitely considering purchasing the Ballerina shade! Have you tried this highlighter before? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. If you haven't, what is your all-time favorite highlighter?

Where to find the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swril Illuminator:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

PÜR COSMETICS Cameo Contour Dual-Ended Contour Stick Review

Unless you've been living under a rock, you and your grandmother know about contouring. It doesn't seem like it, but contouring is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it and these contouring sticks by PÜR Cosmetics makes it even easier! Just like any other makeup technique, contouring takes practice.

PÜR Cosmetics Cameo Contour Sticks come in five different shades (Light, Medium, Tan, Deep and Dark) and each come with an amazing blending sponge and a set of instructions. These are medium-full coverage and dry to a matte/powder finish. The contour shades are cool toned which is the preferred method for contouring rather than a warm bronze shade. These come in a convenient plastic twist-tube that's small enough to carry in a makeup mag. They are creamy, pigmented and blend like a dream.

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.
When you break it down, contouring is pretty simple. All it is is adding dimension to your face. All you're doing by contouring is shading the areas you would like to recede or appear smaller. Highlighting is basically bringing forward the areas you would like to emphasize. It's literally that easy!

Here's my complete bare face - no foundation, no contour, no highlight! While nothing is wrong with a bare face, adding shadows and light can greatly bring out your features.

Here I map out where I usually apply highlight and contour. Depending on your face shape and what features you want to enhance or diminish, your placement might be a little different from mine. 
Before I contour, I like to apply my foundation first. The only problem I have with this product is that the light shade isn't light enough; it's actually about the same shade as my regular foundation! So when I use this product, I try to use a darker foundation or apply just a thin layer since the Cameo Contour sticks are pretty bendable and buildable. 

One of the main areas people like to contour are the cheeks. If you make a fishy face, you can make out the hollow area where you would apply the contour shade. If this doesn't work for you, you can also feel around with your fingers and you should be able to feel your cheekbone. If your forehead is on the smaller side, skip the forehead contouring. I also like to contour my nose by adding the darker shades on the sides and the light shade on the center. Lastly I contour along my jaw. I add the highlight shade where I want more light to hit and to appear brighter, so my forehead, under eyes, cupid's bow, chin and smile lines.

The key to successful contouring is BLENDING. Seriously, blend blend blend! The PÜR Cosmetics Cameo Contour Stick comes with an awesome blending sponge which is really similar to the Beauty Blender except PÜR's comes with a flattened, angled area that makes it super easy to press into the skin and get into hard to reach areas like under the eye. It's best if you use it damp; just make sure you squeeze out all the excess water. 

I suggest blending the light shade first as opposed to the darker shade. Other wise you'll end up with dark product on your sponge and your light areas will become muddy. If you feel like some areas are too dark, simply apply the light end and carefully blend that area. You'll know you've blended properly when you can't see any harsh lines.

Here's my contoured face with my eyes, lips and blush applied as well.
Voila! That's all it takes and now your face should be beautifully defined and enhanced.

On my eyes: Makeup Geek eyeshadows in Beaches and Cream, Cocoa Bear, Corrupt and Uptopia.
On my lips: Colourpop Ultra-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bumble 
As for wear, I have combination/oily skin and this wore beautifully. I got a good 4-5 hours worth of wear without having to touch up. It didn't irritate my sensitive skin and they have no noticeable scent which is a plus. Since they are on the creamy side though, I do not think these would work well for me in the summer time when my skin becomes a lot more oily. But if your skin is dry to combination, then these will work well for you.
 Where to find PÜR Cosmetics Cameo Contour Sticks: