Santa Barbara: The American Riviera

With oceanfront views, cinematic festivals and fine wine, Santa Barbara has been called the "American Riviera" -- with a twist. The coastal city also comes with a down-home style all its own.

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Maui
Maui

Maui

With more than 120 miles of coastline, Maui tops Mandy Ingber's list. Channel your inner roar, and strike a warrior pose, as you take in the sights and sounds of the deep blue Pacific splashing against the island’s rocky headlands. 960 1280

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Ibiza

Ibiza

“This is one of the most beautiful, soulful spots I have been to,” says Ingber of this Mediterranean island off the coast of Valencia, Spain. “Bohemian, a place where living and enjoyment are an art -- even just sitting on the beach feels like yoga here!” 960 1280

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Viceroy Bali

Viceroy Bali

“I have wanted to travel to Bali, and have seen the pictures of the Viceroy -- luxury resort!” says Ingber. Luxury, indeed: The family-owned-and-operated property on the Indonesian island of Bali is home to 25 villas, nestled on a hill overlooking the “Valley of the Kings.” 960 1280

Viceroy Bali  

Harbour Island, Bahamas

Harbour Island, Bahamas

This island, located off the northeast coast of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, may be a trek to get to, but it’s worth it for the “quaint, sweet town [vibe] and casual, beachy feel,” says Ingber. We’re betting you’ll agree as you stroll past colorful rows of homes and “om” away on the island’s pink sand beaches. 960 1280

Adam Nowek, flickr  

Ganeshpuri

Ganeshpuri

This small village, about 50 miles north of Mumbai, is “very poor, but soulful and where many gurus have lived and died,” says Ingber. Explore the village’s Siddha yoga tradition at the local ashram, then while away the hours in one of the hot springs near the area’s Tansa River. 960 1280

Nadine Incoll, flickr  

Chiva-Som Resort

Chiva-Som Resort

This world-class resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, is on Ingber’s travel wish list. “They have programs tailored to detox, weight loss and rejuvenation here,” says Ingber. “Sign me up! Sometimes I want to be the one on the retreat!” 960 1280

Chiva-Som International Health Resort   

Kauai

Kauai

“Incredible setting!” says Ingber of this Hawaiian island. “Not only were we in a gorgeous, Bali-style house but the boat ride up the Na Pali Coast is dreamy. Waterfalls and beautiful hikes. So much wild nature here. One of the most bountiful and beautiful places I have been to and taught in.” 960 1280

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One & Only Palmilla, Mexico

One & Only Palmilla, Mexico

Ingber gives this Los Cabos resort overlooking the Sea of Cortez high marks. “I have been here twice, and have had some lovely yoga sessions in this beautiful setting,” says Ingber. “Many of my clients love Mexico because it’s sandy and close -- and we love the sunny weather!” 960 1280

One&Only Resorts  

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico

This ancient city, one of the last inhabited and built by the Mayans, appeals to Ingber for many reasons: “The ruins and the blue of the ocean. The open-night sky. This spot is a dream … we were at a private estate. Heaven.” 960 1280

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Sha Wellness Clinic

Sha Wellness Clinic

This medical and luxury spa, overlooking Spain’s Costa Blanca coastline, also makes Ingber’s shortlist. A big draw is the surrounding natural beauty; the resort is situated in the Sierra Helada Natural Park, home to protected areas of plants as well as vibrant marine wildlife such as bottlenose dolphins. 960 1280

Sha Wellness Clinic  

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

This region in southern France is another personal favorite; Ingber stayed at a private estate in the country. “We had fresh eggs from the chickens on the property and practiced yoga daily,” she says. “A little sweaty in the summer, but with a farmers’ market and incredible architecture!” 960 1280

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Pranamar Villas and Yoga Retreat

Pranamar Villas and Yoga Retreat

This posh oceanfront hotel, built on a stretch of sand near the Costa Rican town of Santa Teresa, came recommended by a friend. “It’s on my wish list,” says Ingber. With 2-story villas built around a saltwater pool, a restaurant with organic fruits and veggies, tropical gardens … ah, we can see why. 960 1280

Pranamar Villas Yoga Retreat   

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Opened in December 2008, the 2,034-room Encore is all about pure opulence, including the gorgeous European Pool. The classically elegant pool surrounds a unique outdoor casino. 960 1280

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Mondrian Los Angeles

Mondrian Los Angeles

This ornately designed Sunset Strip hotel has an exclusive pool and poolside lounge, and more scene than even the Sunset Marquis. The Mondrian Los Angeles’ white walls and hanging potted plants gives this pool a beachy feel -- despite it being several stories above bustling Sunset Boulevard. 960 1280

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La Reunion Golf Resort & Residences

La Reunion Golf Resort & Residences

La Reunion Antigua Golf Resort is an outstanding luxury pick, located in the shadow of 4 volcanoes -- 2 of them active -- about 30 minutes from the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala. Rooms have private patios with infinity-edge swimming pools, but the resort also has a main pool as well as a separate kiddy pool. These gorgeous volcanic views are hard to beat. 960 1280

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Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

The Gansevoort Turks and Caicos is without a doubt the sexiest resort on Grace Bay, and a large part of its appeal is thanks to its stunning pool surrounded by palm trees. The pool features 4 hard-decked islands. 960 1280

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The Joule

The Joule

The Joule is one of the coolest -- and most luxurious -- hotels in Downtown Dallas. And it features one of the most talked about pools in the states. The Joule's cantilevered pool juts out over Main Street, so swimmers can get a glimpse of pedestrians below. 960 1280

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Biltmore Coral Gables

Biltmore Coral Gables

Built in 1926, the iconic Biltmore, a national landmark, brings timeless luxury to Miami’s hotel scene. Though far from any beaches, it offers -- among many other luxuries -- an amazing pool. This 22,000-square-foot pool is the largest in the continental U.S. Actor Johnny Weissmuller, better known as Tarzan, was a swimming instructor at the pool many years ago. 960 1280

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Gansevoort Park Avenue

Gansevoort Park Avenue

This 249-room hotel with flashy decor, lots of bars, and an outdoor pool is the uptown sister to the original, once wildly popular Hotel Gansevoort. The Gansevoort chain knows how to do their pools. One of only a handful of rooftop pools in New York, this is the only one that features a sexy pin-up mural. Plus, the pool has an underwater sound system and is a popular scene during the summertime. 960 1280

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Ventana Inn & Spa

Ventana Inn & Spa

Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque land -- in Big Sur, CA -- , the Ventana Inn & Spa looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods -- yet it features a long list of on-site amenities, including 2 pools. This pool is in a secluded spot for a reason -- it's the resort's clothing-optional pool. So forget your bathing suit and enjoy a dip au naturel. 960 1280

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Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

The beautifully designed, 780-room Grand Wailea has one of the top US spas, a prime location on one of the best US beaches, and 9 pools -- including arguably the best one in Hawaii. The massive main pool has several fun features, including volleyball nets, a waterslide, and a rope swing. Dive in! 960 1280

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Four Seasons Maui

Four Seasons Maui

An immaculate, art-filled property fronting Wailea beach, the Four Seasons Miami stands at the pinnacle of the area's resorts, offering spacious rooms, a top-notch staff and a slew of amenities, including three high-design pools. The poolside cabana staff refills guests' free glasses of ice water, and employees patrol the lounge chairs with cold towels and spray-bottles of Evian to spritz guests' faces. 960 1280

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Royal Corin Resort

Royal Corin Resort

For Costa Rica’s Royal Corin Resort & Loto Spa, this 54-room boutique hotel has a lot to offer, including great views of Arenal volcano, a lovely spa, a bar with an outdoor terrace, an on-site restaurant and a beautiful pool. This hot springs pool features natural thermal waters that help guests relax and take in the scenery. 960 1280

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The Raleigh Hotel

The Raleigh Hotel

Some things at the Raleigh Hotel are vintage-bordering-on-dated, but not the stunning free-form pool. This pool became a Miami landmark when former swimmer and movie star Esther Williams leapt from its waterfall diving board in a sequined bathing cap. 960 1280

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12 Amazing Pools  12 Photos

Disney Fantasy
Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy

The fourth ship in the Disney fleet, the Disney Fantasy has 14 decks and can accommodate 4,000 passengers. Visit one of the 3 different pools on deck 11, or splash around in the AquaLab, a 1,800 square foot water play area. When you’ve had enough fun in the sun, catch a Disney musical show or a first-run movie in 3D. 960 1280

Disney Cruise Line  

Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic

Test your climbing ability at Carnival Magic’s SportSquare, the world’s first ropes course at sea! If you’d rather keep your feet firmly planted on the deck, catch a movie or sports game on the ship’s huge outdoor screen at the Seaside Theatre. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  

MSC Divina

MSC Divina

Stare out to sea from MSC Divina’s infinity pool. For a more exclusive and luxurious experience, upgrade to the MSC Yacht Club and enjoy a private pool deck with a private restaurant featuring panoramic views. 960 1280

MSC  

Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic

The Norwegian Epic certainly lives up to its name. With performances by the Blue Man Group and the Second City, an Aqua Park complete with 3 waterslides, Nickelodeon characters and 20 different dining options, the ship has something for everyone. Have a drink in the Svedka ice bar and then head to Spice H20—an adults-only Ibiza-inspired beach club (pictured here). 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

MSC Fantasia

MSC Fantasia

The new flagship of MSC cruises, the Fantasia has staircases made of Swarovski crystals and a transparent ceiling for stargazing. If that’s not enough to make you sign up, the Fantasia also has an Aqua Park, a Formula 1 simulator and an interactive 4D theatre. 960 1280

MSC   

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has everything you could ever dream of…including a zipline that’s 9 decks in the air. Climb a rock wall, test your skills in a surf simulator, go ice skating on the rink, play a round of mini golf or see a performance of Hairspray. There’s even a Starbucks on board! 960 1280

Simon Brooke-Webb  

Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze

Think all cruise food is boring? Think again. Hop aboard the Carnival Breeze and sample signature burgers by celebrity Food Network chef Guy Fieri. Then, take in a “5D” movie—a 3D movie with special effects and moving seats. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  

Ruby Princess

Ruby Princess

Christened in 2008 by Trista and Ryan Sutter of The Bachelorette, the Ruby Princess is a perfect ship for couples. Relax in a cabana in the adults-only sundeck called The Sanctuary, or cozy up for a first-run movie in the outdoor theatre. 960 1280

Princess Cruises  

Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette

On the Celebrity Silhouette, order food and wine from an iPad menu in one restaurant and sample 50 international craft beers in another. Take a painting class, grill your own food in the “Lawn Club,” or rent one of the cabana-style “Alcoves” for a relaxing day at sea. 960 1280

Celebrity Cruises  

Disney Dream

Disney Dream

As the only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea, Disney's Dream lights up the sky to dazzle guests with the largest fireworks extravaganza presented aboard a cruise ship. The skies above the Disney Dream explode with brilliant colors during "Buccaneer Blast!" -- a pyrotechnic spectacular choreographed to a dramatic score featuring songs from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, "Peter Pan" and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction at the Disney theme parks. 960 1280

Matt Stroshane/Disney  

Mickey's Pool, a favorite feature of the Disney Cruise Line fleet, continues on the Disney Dream. This play area for children features a Mickey Mouse-shaped pool and an oversized version of Mickey's hand supporting a yellow winding slide that splashes down into the pool area. 960 1280

Jimmy DeFlippo/Disney  

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas' AquaTheater located in the ships Boardwalk neighborhood, hosts spectacular shows during its voyage. 960 1280

Royal Caribbean  

Fireworks cast a colorful light on the Queen Mary 2. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Passengers aboard the Queen Mary 2 can enjoy planetarium shows in Illuminations. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Norwegian Pearl

Norwegian Pearl

The Norwegian Pearl's pool area can easily be mistaken for a full-blown water park. 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

The Emerald Princess Piazza dazzles passengers with its opulence. 960 1280

Emerald Princess  

Photos

dockweiler beach

dockweiler beach

Marianela, craving some s’mores, heads to Dockweiler Beach, one of the only beaches in Southern California where you can have a bonfire. 960 1280

  

hang gliding

hang gliding

The beach is also famous for being a hang-glider flight-training park, and was a major testing ground for hang gliding pioneers in the '60s. 960 1280

  

relaxation

relaxation

Dockweiler is perfect for a day of relaxation, hanging with friends, and enjoying the beautiful view of the shore. 960 1280

  

hot dog

hot dog

Marianela enjoys a hot dog she cooked on the bonfire. 960 1280

  

close up

close up

Marianela is ready for her close-up. 960 1280

  

bonfire

bonfire

Marianela gets ready to chop some wood for the bonfire. 960 1280

  

bonfire making

bonfire making

Beachgoers teach Marianela the proper technique to making a bonfire. 960 1280

  

boeing airplane

boeing airplane

Marianela checks out the Boeing 747 airplane flying by. 960 1280

  

football

football

Marianela plays a little football as the sun sets on Dockweiler Beach. 960 1280

  

bonfire making

bonfire making

Marianela learns that making a bonfire isn’t as easy as it looks, but eventually gets the hang of it. 960 1280

  

new friends

new friends

Marianela poses with her new friends, “champions” of bonfire making. 960 1280

  

LAX

LAX

Dockweiler is located right off the takeoff path for LAX. 960 1280

  

sunset

sunset

As the sun sets, Marianela takes in the gorgeous view of the LA shoreline. 960 1280

  

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach

Just 5 minutes from San Diego, this family-friendly beach boasts wide stretches of sand, mostly calm surf and ideal whale watching (January through March). The lifeguards on staff, nearby public facilities and free parking along Ocean Boulevard add to its convenience -- and popularity. Couples can take a romantic walk to the luxury beachfront Hotel del Coronado and sip cocktails on its patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

Tashka/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

La Jolla

La Jolla

You’ll have to leave the surfboards and boogie boards behind, but trust us it will be worth it. La Jolla Cove is the most desired area for swimming, snorkeling and diving; it is ecologically protected, making it a safe home for the bright orange Garibaldi fish (among others species) in the crescent-shaped cove. Called “the jewel” of San Diego, this beach is small, but you’ll find more room to stretch out on the mile-long La Jolla Shores to the north. 960 1280

John Hoffman/ iStock/ Thinkstock   

Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast State Beach comprises 13 miles of coastline, stretching from Blind Beach to Bodega Head. It’s dotted with nothing save hidden beaches tucked between the rocky coves and tall bluffs. Follow the Sonoma Coast Trail to visit these secret beaches and take postcard-worthy pictures, #nofilter necessary. 960 1280

Jairo Leiva/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach, founded by the Chumash Indian Tribe, is located in central California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Whichever direction you travel from, there’s plenty of activities to keep you here: fishing on the 1,200-foot-long pier, strolling through the Monarch Butterfly Grove, horseback riding along private trails, and exploring tide pools and caves, to name just a few. 960 1280

JB325/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Main Beach in Santa Cruz

Main Beach in Santa Cruz

For most beachgoers in Santa Cruz, Main Beach is where the action is -- complete with restaurants, shops, surfing spots, beach volleyball courts and, of course, a scenic boardwalk and bandstand. If you ask us, it’s just the right amount of Americana. 960 1280

Mitch Diamond/ Photodisc/ Getty Images  

Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach Pier

With a location at the end of Main Street and a nickname like “Surf City, USA,” Huntington Beach evokes a time gone by. The pier (one of the longest on the West Coast), the year-round surf (thanks to ocean swells around Catalina Island) and Ruby’s Diner (the milkshakes are a must) will continue to draw crowds here for years to come. 
960 1280

Christopher Riddler/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Our resident beach expert, Marianela Pereyra, can attest to its weirdness, but there’s a reason Venice Beach is world famous. It may bring to mind visions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muscle Beach of the ’70s, but let us assure you that the 1 1/2-mile-long boardwalk is still the perfect storm for people watching, street performers and souvenir shopping. 960 1280

Christian Kober/ AWL Images/ Getty Images  

Baker Beach

Baker Beach

To the west of the Golden Gate Bridge lies the rocky serpentine shoreline of Baker Beach. Rip currents make swimming unsafe, but you’re here for the panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge … and maybe to picnic. Just don’t venture too far north unless you’re looking for another kind of scene: the northernmost end of Baker Beach, which attracts clothing-optional sunbathers. 960 1280

Jamairani/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Formerly known as Surfrider Beach, Malibu Lagoon State Beach’s famous right point breaks have made it the most-surfed spot in Los Angeles since the ’60s. Arrive early to find a parking spot and pick a point -- some of the perfect swells due to Surfrider Beach will give you a ride all the way to the pier (a couple hundred feet away). And for non-surfers, the historic wooden Malibu Pier offers excellent saltwater fishing, bird-watching and picnicking. 960 1280

Ryan McVay/ Digital Vision/ Thinkstock  

Dockweiler State Beach

Dockweiler State Beach

Located just west of the LAX runway, Dockweiler Beach is where people come to relax and party. That’s because the 3-mile-long shoreline is the only Los Angeles beach that has an RV park and allows bonfires. S’mores, anyone? 960 1280

Jose Gil/ iStock/ Getty Images  

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Discover the highest waterfall in North America -- and the sixth largest in the world: Yosemite Falls. At 2,424 feet, the waterfall is a major attraction in the park, located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. It’s best viewed in late spring when snowmelt flows most vigorously. 960 1280

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Half Dome

Half Dome

The granite dome in the background is Yosemite’s most popular rock formation: Half Dome. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 feet above the valley floor -- hikers can ascend it with the use of cables. 960 1280

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Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

Discover this meadowy section of Yosemite along the Tuolumne River. Wild, wonderful plant and tree species to explore include Ross’s sedge, Lodgepole Pine and dwarf bilberry. The area also offers day-hike and camping opportunities (the park service campground is open July through late September). 960 1280

Steve Dunleavy, Wikimedia Commons  

El Capitan

El Capitan

Rock climbers will find few vertical rock formations as challenging as El Capitan (left, background). At one time “El Cap,” which stretches roughly 3,000 feet from base to top, was considered impossible to climb. Today, the most popular route to tackle is The Nose, which follows the rock’s huge projecting front. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Valley View

Valley View

Thank the 145-mile-long Merced River: It’s responsible for carving out the glacial valley known as Yosemite Valley. The valley is about 8 miles long and a mile deep, with an amazing vantage point offered at Valley View. This turnout is located near the park exit, traveling west on Northside Drive. 960 1280

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Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome

Got 3 hours to spare? Take a short hike (2.8 miles roundtrip) up the granite rock formation of Lembert Dome, which rises 800 feet above Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows. Then bask in the satisfaction of knowing you hiked up a real mountain. 960 1280

Ava Weintraub, flickr  

Tunnel View

Tunnel View

Journey along State Route 41 and you’re in for a treat: The viewpoint known as Tunnel View offers a breathtaking snapshot of Yosemite Valley and several of its attractions -- El Capitan, Half Dome and the waterfall Bridalveil Fall (pictured, right). 960 1280

Bala Sivakumar, flickr  

Cathedral Peak

Cathedral Peak

The Cathedral Range of mountains stretch through Yosemite -- and Cathedral Peak is their star attraction. At a height of 10,911 feet, the granite peak was first scaled in 1869 by naturalist John Muir -- perhaps the first person to undertake a class-4 climb anywhere in the Sierra Nevada range (of which Cathedral is a sub-range). 960 1280

Steve Dunleavy, flickr  

Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall

Looking to meet someone special? Head to Yosemite’s Bridalveil Fall. The 617-foot waterfall owes its name to a legend from the Ahwahneechee Native American tribe: They believed that inhaling the mist of the waterfall would improve one’s chances of getting married. 960 1280

Matt Haughey, flickr  

Glacier Point

Glacier Point

One of Yosemite’s best viewpoints is Glacier Point. Located on the south wall of Yosemite Valley, the overlook rises to an elevation of 7, 214 feet -- with great views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall (a 317-foot waterfall) and Nevada Fall (594 feet). 960 1280

Getty Images  

Vernal Fall

Vernal Fall

After an afternoon hike, cool off with the gentle mist sprays from a nearby waterfall. That’s what you’ll experience when you take a 2- to 5-hour hike near Vernal Fall. The hike starts at the Happy Isles trailhead and reaches the base of the waterfall. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Visitors look up at one of the largest living things on Earth: a giant sequoia. It’s also one of the oldest. Within Yosemite’s mariposa grove of 500 giant sequoias, visitors will find trees more than 3,000 years old. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Nevada Fall

Nevada Fall

Within a small glacial valley (Little Yosemite Valley), you’ll find Nevada Fall. The 594-foot waterfall owes its name to its location – it’s the nearest waterfall to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Meanwhile, the Native American name for it is Yo-wy-we, meaning “wormy” water, signifying the twists of the falling water. 960 1280

Getty Images  

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