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Heather Becker is the uber-stylish, always-traveling C.E.O. of The Conservation Center, one of the top restoration and conservation laboratories in the city. At least six times a year, she takes a trip to an epicenter-of-the-art-world happening such as Art Basel. Her leisure vacations include fly-fishing in Colorado or hiking at Machu Picchu. And someday, she'll desert trek through Morocco. But this time of year, Becker's thoughts turn to her hometown of Houston. Here, the art savant gives us a peek at her home-for-the-holidays agenda—and, in the meantime— lets us in on Houston's hotspots for shopping and dining.
Tell us about your Houston travels! How often do you get home?
Houston is my hometown and I get there at least once a year. I am very close with my mom and it's always fun to visit.
What's the first thing you do after you land in Houston?
I try to get out of my airplane outfit as fast as possible and change into something cool and comfortable. Maria Pinto is a good friend, and I always pack her clothes when I travel.
Where are your favorite places to shop in Houston?
My mom and I love hitting the home and design stores in Houston. We're regulars at Area, Kuhl-Linscomb, Found for the Home, Thompson + Hanson, Chateau Domingue, and Kay O'Toole Antiques. For exquisite clothes and accessories, best bets include à bientôt and Sloan/Hall.
What are the best Houston restaurants?
There are so many great places in Houston, it's hard to narrow down the choices! Brasserie 19's simple, hearty French fare is always thoughtfully presented. For brunch, we love sitting outside at Tiny Boxwoods's patio. The Raven Grill is a neighborhood restaurant that serves fresh regional cuisine. Ouisie's Table and Tony Mandola's both have the best Texan-style seafood.
If you travel home for the holidays, what is an only-in-Houston holiday ritual you look forward to?
For me, Houston is all about spending time with the family. So lots of laughing, playing with the kids, and a home-cooked holiday dinner.
What's a gift you bring from Chicago for people back home?
Vosges Haut-Chocolat is tasty, luxurious, and made in Chicago. I always bring a few boxes home.
What do you stock your suitcase with before coming back to Chicago?
I stop by Kuhl-Linscomb and stock up on bath and beauty products. The store's apothecary is one of the best in the country.
What beauty products do you bring on the road?
Although not exactly a "beauty product," I carry my yoga mat whenever I hit the road. Yoga helps me stay focused and healthy. I also stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking a lot of water.
What do you miss most about Chicago when you're not here?
I have an oasis at home, which is my art studio. I love quiet times practicing my art, surrounded by my dear cats.
What do you miss most about Houston when you're not there?
I miss quality time with my family.
And, when friends or family come to visit you, what stores do you take them to?
My shopping destinations in Chicago include Elements, Robin Richman, Blake, and Luminaire.
· The Conservation Center [Official Site]
· The Official Visitors Site for Houston [Official Site]