Photo by Jo Malone London/Facebook

Humans have long been aware that certain smells can evoke memories and influence moods. They can enhance alertness, reduce stress, boost concentration, and even make a difference in relationships.

Celebrities have long been ambassadors of perfumes, beginning with the kings and queens of the 17th century. In the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe famously cemented the fragrance's popularity when she said all she wore to bed was a few drops of Chanel No. 5.

Today, if you want to manifest Hailey Bieber's It Girl status, turn heads by smelling just like Ryan Reynolds, or add a new perfume to the collection, here is a roundup of celebrity-approved favorites for peak olfactory curiosity. Buyer beware, these carefully crafted fragrances will ensnare the noses of everyone within sniffing distance.

Bond No. 9

With the power to turn a sugary confection into a coveted nail trend, Hailey Bieber's beauty routine, including her signature scent, is a sought-after commodity. Her fragrance of choice is Bond No. 9's New York Nights. Bieber reportedly likes the unisex fragrance because it is "not too girly" even with flowery notes, including gardenia, carnation, and jasmine. The perfume, available at Saks, is also infused with sandalwood, coffee, and caramel.

A favorite of Hailey Bieber, New York Nights is available at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Galleria. Photo by Bond No. 9

For Your Love

Style icon and former First Lady Jackie Kennedy loved the scent of patchouli during a time when earthy-smelling incense was a sign of free love and hippie culture. For Your Love, from Swiss perfume house Mizensir, evokes the smell of patchouli along with notes of raspberry and Cacholox, which replicates the closeness of skin. This unforgettable blend, available at Neiman Marcus, is about taking risks and getting lost in the moment.

For your love evokes the smell of patchouli along with notes of raspberry. Photo by Mizensir

Floris London

Perfume House Floris London started in the 1700s and has been a mainstay of the royal court ever since. Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, and Mick Jagger have all been enthusiasts of the brand. Floris London is so intertwined with the Royals they created a signature scent for Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee. Their latest fragrance, A Rose for... is dark with a rich, complex character that pairs roses with notes of spice, orris, and deep woods, taking the wearer on an altogether diverse journey of romance. Available at Neiman Marcus, the main character of the fragrance is a floral balance of red roses delicately wrapped in incense, oud, and orris.

Floris London perfume house dates back to the 1700s and is a favorite of the several English celebs. Photo by Floris London

House of Creed

Consistently named one of the best luxury perfume houses in the world, Creed got its venerable start in 1760 when it began supplying Queen Victoria's court with its perfumes. Fast forward over two hundred years, and Creed has been worn by the likes of Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Michelle Obama, and Beyonce's husband, rapper Jay Z. The brand's Houston Galleria boutique is offering a 100% silk scarf and pocket square with any $350 purchase making the perfect bow on any wonderfully smelling gift.

House of Creed is gifting a beautiful silk scarf with every $350 purchase through the month of February. Photo by House of Creed


Founded by a scion of the Hennessy dynasty, Kilian Paris strives to create perfume as it was made in the 19th century but with a contemporary twist. Its scent, Love, Don't be Shy, is a cult favorite of Rhianna. Reportedly Rhi Rhi smells so good that people not only ask her what she is wearing but talk about the fact that she always smells delicious. Love, Don't be Shy is available at Nordstrom and is a delicate scent with a blend of orange blossom, vanilla absolute, and marshmallow, all suspended in a rich amber base.

Love, Don't be Shy is a cult favorite of Rhianna's and available at Nordstrom. Photo courtesy of Kilian/Instagram

Jo Malone London

Jo Malone has been a mainstay on the fragrance scene for over thirty years, and we are still obsessed with the sophisticated brand. Known as a timeless and elegant scent laced with wit and whimsy, its most popular scent is English Pear and Freesia Cologne. Available at its namesake boutique in the Galleria, the brand is a favorite of Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and Rosie Huntington-Whitely.

Jo Malone London's scents are available at its namesake boutique in the Galleria. Photo courtesy of Jo Malone/Instagram

Le Labo

Minimalist brand Le Labo landed on the scene at a time when every celebrity had their own scent. Their no-fuss bottles and barely there labels were quickly noticed among the over-the-top glitz and glam of the fragrance industry. When the unisex scent Santal 33 launched in 2017, it quickly garnered a celebrity following, including Alexa Chung, Justin Bieber, Ryan Reynolds, and Sophie Turner. Still a social media favorite, one of the brand's best sellers, Santal 33 smells like iris and cardamom violet notes with a leathery, musky edge. Houstonians can get their hands on the coveted scent at the brand's Hyde Park boutique, Nordstroms, or Saks Fifth Avenue.

Minimalist Santal 33 is a TikTok favorite by Le Labo. Photo courtesy of Le Labo/Instagram

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Willie Nelson receives prestigious honor and inaugural endowment at UT Austin

Willie forever

Willie Nelson has earned countless awards for his seven-decade music career, but the legend is also well known for his activism — particularly in the areas of farming and food security. In recognition of his longtime advocacy work, the LBJ Foundation will present its most prestigious honor, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award to Nelson this spring.

The award will be presented at a special gala tribute dinner on Friday, May 12, 2023, which in turn will benefit the newly established Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, a part of The University of Texas at Austin.

According to a release, the endowment will fund research and student fellowships focused on sustainable agriculture, eliminating hunger, resilient energy, sustainable water, and natural disaster recovery to benefit rural and farm communities.

Along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, Nelson organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise funds for struggling farmers, which has since raised over $70 million for those who own and operate family farms throughout the United States. He has also helped raise millions around disaster relief, for families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and for veterans, as well as working toward environmental and animal advocacy, and voting rights. His Luck Family Foundation provides financial grant assistance and other resources to artists, organizations, and programs in need, donating proceeds from Luck Reunion events to Farm Aid and other longtime charity partners like the Texas Food & Wine Alliance.

“Willie Nelson is a national treasure who gained fame through his sheer musical talent and won hearts as someone who truly cares about the lives of his fellow Americans," says Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, via release. "A product of rural Texas, Willie has never forgotten where he comes from. His longtime efforts to raise money and awareness for family farmers through Farm Aid and numerous other endeavors to help those in need throughout his career make him a true inspiration.”

The dinner will honor Nelson's lifelong support for rural communities, embodying President Lyndon Baines Johnson's commitment to public service, particularly in the areas of farming and food security. With their similar backgrounds as rural Texans, both President Johnson and Nelson shared a keen awareness of the struggles of those who work in the agricultural industry.

“The bounty of the earth is the foundation of our economy," President Johnson shared in a 1965 Special Message to Congress on Agriculture. "Programs in every aspect of our nation’s life depend on the abundant harvests of our farms.”

Houston's 16 best new restaurants compete for coveted Tastemakers title

voting is open now

In 10 of the 11 categories for the 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, our panel of local restaurant industry experts pick the winners. The exception is Best New Restaurant.

For that category, we ask CultureMap readers to vote for their favorites in a bracket-style, head-to-head tournament of 16 restaurants that opened in Houston in 2022. Our readers have a pretty good track record of identifying quality establishments, as demonstrated by the James Beard Award finalist nominations that two former winners — Blood Bros. BBQ and Xin Chao — earned last year.

Just as winning one of the judges’ prizes is extremely difficult, so too is winning the Best New Restaurant tournament. To keep things interesting, round one always matches up restaurants that have a common tie, whether it’s geography, style of cuisine, or something a little more ephemeral. Let the debates begin!

Voting is open now. People may vote once per matchup. The results are closely monitored for cheating and other shenanigans, so don’t even try to game the results. Round one ends at 11 pm on Monday, March 27.

Which restaurant will win? Find out April 13 at the Tastemaker Awards party. We’ll dine on bites from this year’s nominated restaurants before emcee Bun B reveals the winners. Buy tickets now before they sell out.

Hamsa vs Navy Blue
Arguably the toughest first round matchup, these two restaurant have more in common than their locations in Rice Village. They’re both sister concepts of established restaurants — Bludorn for Navy Blue and Doris Metropolitan for Hamsa — and both made Texas Monthly’s list of the state’s best new restaurants. Vote now to determine whether Hamsa’s hummus and falafel or Navy Blue’s oysters three ways and whole Dover sole will move on to round two.

Marmo steaks
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

Porterhouse, filet, and cowboy ribeye at Marmo.

Marmo vs il Bracco
This pairing features a steakhouse that makes its own pasta and an Italian restaurant that serves a great steak. Marmo has been a hit in the Montrose Collective with its creative pastas, dry-aged beef, and nightly live music. Similarly, diners are flocking to il Bracco for its housemade pastas, fried artichoke appetizer, and Italian-inspired cocktail menu. It will be up to voters to decide which meatball moves on.

Dinette vs Moon Rabbit
The two modern Vietnamese restaurants that have captivated the Heights square off in this matchup. At Dinette, chef Cole Hoang blends his northern Vietnamese heritage with techniques he refined while working for chef Christine Ha at the Blind Goat and Xin Chao to create dishes such as soft shell crab banh mi and a Vietnamese-style pizza. Led by chefs Tam Nguyen and Rudy Vasquez, Moon Rabbit has earned raves for its well-executed takes on staples like shaking beef and lemongrass pork banh mi. Both restaurants serve good cocktails, but only one will move on to round two.

Burger Bodega vs Loro
This matchup features two restaurants that serve tasty burgers. Before launching his smash burger concept, food influencer Abbas Dhanani traveled to Los Angeles and New York to taste all the best versions. For its Asian smokehouse, the Uchi team partnered with legendary pitmaster Aaron Franklin to learn all the techniques necessary to produce consistently excellent smoke-kissed meats. Now it’s time to determine whether Loro’s boozy slushies or Burger Bodega’s mango lassi milkshake move on in the tournament.

Aiko vs Aya Sushi
Our sushi matchup features two restaurants that have embraced omakase. At Aiko, diners choose from $35, $55, and $95 options that include nigiri, handrolls, and crudo. At Aya Sushi, veteran sushi chef Yoshi Katsuyama offers his customers both a chef’s tasting and a premium tasting that can include more than 15 courses. Of course, both restaurants also have extensive a la carte offerings and daily specials, but we encourage you to take the plunge with a tasting — and to pick one restaurant to move on.

The Warwick vs Karne Korean Steakhouse
Both of these restaurants offer a fresh take on the steakhouse. At The Warwick, look for Southern classics like shrimp and grits and smoked ribs as well as a couple nods to the restaurant’s location as a former Houston’s in the form of a Hawaiian ribeye and a Thai noodle salad. Karne offers its diners the signature Karnivore platter that provides a sample of its best meats and banchan as well as some splurge-worthy dishes like oysters topped with uni. Diners will find an eye-catching design and photo-worthy cocktails at both establishments, but only one will make it to round two.

Cucharita vs Tatemó
Now comes the old school vs new school Mexican matchup. A sister concept to Montrose staple Cuchara, Cucharita serves a range of breakfast favorites including tacos, waffles, and all the egg dishes — including caviar. Tatemó has earned regional and national attention, including a James Beard semifinalist nomination, for its nixtamalized masa creations that use heirloom Mexican corn. Vote to decide whether Cucharita’s corn waffles or Tatemó’s masa pancakes make it to round two.

Amrina vs Gatlin’s Fins & Feathers
Admittedly, pairing an Indian fine dining restaurant with a Southern restaurant devoted to fried chicken and seafood seems like a bit of a curious matchup, but these two restaurants are united by the way they offer unique perspectives on familiar dishes. For example, Amrina serves dishes such as whiskey naan, jackfruit samosas, and tandoori leg of lamb with gold leaf that are distinct from the versions at other, similar establishments. Of course, Gatlin’s Fins & Feathers produces craveable fried chicken and shrimp, but it’s globally inspired dishes like grilled jerk chicken and sweet ‘n spicy miso wings that set it apart. Sadly, only one restaurant will earn a spot in round two.

Ridiculously violent John Wick: Chapter 4 hits most of the right marks

Movie Review

The world of John Wick sure has changed a lot from its relatively small beginnings in 2014. Back then, Wick (Keanu Reeves) was just a former hitman out for revenge on the people who killed his dog. Now it’s a full-blown franchise with a story that spans continents, necessitating that each subsequent sequel try to out-do the previous film.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is the biggest movie in the series yet, clocking in at just shy of three hours. Stunt coordinator-turned-director Chad Stahelski does his best to fill that massive running time with as much brutality and derring-do as possible. Wick, having long ago run afoul of the powers-that-be that lead the hitman syndicate, The High Table, is still on the lam, with only a few loyal friends willing to help him.

One of the leaders of The High Table, the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård), is on mission to root out Wick once and for all, systemically shutting down versions of The Continental, hotels that serve as safe houses for assassins like Wick. With the Marquis and his henchmen constantly on his tail, Wick has no choice but to do what he does best – take out as many people as he can before they get to him first.

The film, written by Shay Hatten, Michael Finch, and Derek Kolstad, is not quite a non-stop thrill ride, but it’s as close as you can get when you decide to make a film this long. The complexity of the machinations of The High Table makes it almost impossible to keep up with the actual story of the film, but when they get down to the business of fighting, none of that really matters.

There are multiple extended sequences that become an orgy of violence, but the way they’re staged by Stahelski and his team make them eminently engaging. John Wick: Chapter 3 suffered from repetitiveness, and while the same could be said here to a degree, it feels fresher because of the sheer number of combatants and constantly changing scenery.

The fight scenes are magnificently over-the-top, but in this series, that’s to be expected. Where the filmmakers step up this time around is in the cinematography, with bravura shots filling the screen. The camera is almost constantly on the move, swooping in, out, and above the action. One especially memorable sequence even has the camera going above walls to follow the fighting.

While the majority of the story is treated in a deadly serious manner, the filmmakers aren’t afraid to add in some goofy elements. We’ve always had to take Wick’s ability to survive (mostly) unscathed with a huge grain of salt, but this film turns that idea up to 11. At certain points, there’s a kind of a Wile E. Coyote tone to Wick’s escapes, especially a late sequence involving (many) stairs.

There’s not much to the character of John Wick other than his preternatural ability to kill, and Reeves continues to play him perfectly, expressing himself more in gunshots and punches than words. In addition to returning favorites like Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, and Laurence Fishburne, this film sees great supporting turns by Skarsgård, Donnie Yen, and Shamier Anderson.

John Wick: Chapter 4 did not need to be nearly as long as it is, but in this case, the excess is the point. Much of it is ridiculous and ridiculously violent, but it’s also highly entertaining, which is all you can hope for from this type of film.


John Wick: Chapter 4 opens in theaters on March 24.

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4

Photo by Murray Close/Lionsgate

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4.