All posts by Cara Sprunk

About Cara Sprunk

Cara lives in Santa Monica, CA, where she loves biking along the beach, yoga, reading, cooking and taking advantage of all the new places to explore in Southern California. Cara grew up in New Jersey and attended Cornell University, where she studied American Studies. Cara has been published in Star Magazine, Radar Online, OK Magazine, Reality Weekly, The Huffington Post, Her Campus, Psychology Today, and Divine Caroline.

TV Train Wrecks

Americans love watching train wrecks on TV. But what happens when the train wrecks grow up?

The cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore is fist-pumping for the cameras in Seaside Heights, NJ right now, but with some major changes — as The Situation and Snooki are “out of commission.”

Snooki, pregnant with her first child, isn’t even living in the Italian-themed shore house. The Situation, fresh from rehab, is surely GTL-ing (gym, tanning, laundry – for those living under a pop culture-free rock) but won’t be pre-gaming Karma (the local club) with any Ron-Ron Juice (cast member Ronnie’s potent alcoholic beverage) this season.

After seasons of watching Snooki stumble drunkenly down the boardwalk and watching The Sitch recover from hangovers, their sober lives should be celebrated. Sure, their situations came from an accidental pregnancy and an addiction, but regardless, it’s a wake up call and a step in the right direction for both of them.

Nevertheless, the two insisted (or, MTV insisted) they return to the shore to milk a few more dollars out of their short-lived fame — even if it’s putting their health in danger. Both have been spotted clubbing; not exactly the healthiest place for a pregnant girl and a recovering addict. And whilst clubbing, Snooki is being watched like a hawk by people checking to see if she’d take a sip of alcohol. (Read: hoping the longtime “mess” would drink while pregnant. TV/tabloid gold!!). Meanwhile, The Situation is being taunted for his sobriety.

What is wrong with this picture?

Laugh all you want (and I mean that) about Snooki procreating. Are you done? Good. Now, instead of hoping she will damage her developing fetus by taking a Pickle-back (Whiskey + Pickle Juice) shot, hope that she will get home safely. Seriously. There is a reason pregnant women shy away from clubs — rowdy people pushing and bumping, late nights, high heels, date rape drugs. But Snooki, due to pressure from her fans (and quite possibly the network) is going out, holding on to her image as a crazy partier.

Same with The Situation. Instead of wishing that he would relapse (shame on you!), cross your fingers that being surrounded by bottles and drugs doesn’t tempt him to put his life in danger.

Admittedly, train wrecks make for great TV. But at what price? Society has decided Snooki and The Situation are nothing but train wrecks, and they will be nothing more. Debatable, I’ll admit. But they have outgrown their images by seeking treatment and getting pregnant (or at least we hope).

I for one will not be tuning into the next season of Jersey Shore. I don’t need to see MTV trying to milk the last drops of TV ratings success out of Situation and Snooki. Both of them should be home, probably brainstorming their next moves — which should NOT be to a bar. I watch just as many train wrecks on television as the next pop culture addict, but I will not support, what I perceive to be, reality star’s lives in danger.

So I ask you Intent readers: Should we support train wrecks on TV? Or should we turn off the TV when train wrecks are overly celebrated, and celebrate someone making a true accomplishment instead? Weigh in below!

photo by: ekelly89

Judging Jessica Simpson’s Post-Pregnancy Body: OK or Not?

Last month The Office star Jenna Fischer gave her two cents on celebrities and pregnancy. Because in Hollywood, everyone sheds their baby weight in six to eight weeks and looks absolutely amazing. It almost makes you not afraid to pack on the pounds during a pregnancy because, if Bethenny Frankel can shed it all in a matter of weeks, won’t you be able to as well? Probably not.

“I think it’s unnatural,” Jenna said of these unrealistic expectations. “There’s so much pressure on you as a new mom that the last thing you need to have hanging over your head is some expectation of what your body is supposed to look like. I actually think that the scrutiny of new mothers’ bodies has gotten out of control. Every new mother just gets a free pass. I’m actually angered by the ‘posing in a bikini six weeks after having my baby’ [trend]… Who cares if our boobs are hanging low and we have a little more junk in the trunk? We created a human being, everybody. Let’s celebrate!”

You can probably imagine where I am going with this: the scrutiny on Jessica Simpson’s post-baby body.

I’ll admit, I made jokes about Jessica Simpson secretly carrying twins, and wasn’t surprised when her daughter Maxwell weighed in at nearly 10 lbs at birth. But in reality — as someone who has never been pregnant — who was I to judge? Plus, with my keen celebrity eye, I knew that Jessica most definitely looked far heavier in paparazzi photos than in reality.

And now that Jessica has given birth, all eyes are on the girl who once wowed the world with her Daisy Dukes body, to see if she can slip into those jean cut-offs once again.

You know what I say? Let her be.

Jessica just had a baby! Via C-section! She should be at home, staring at her precious baby Maxwell and learning to balance her fiancée, daughter, and multimillion dollar businesses.

It is absolutely unfair how much pressure not only just Hollywood, but normal people sitting at home, writing on message boards and gossiping with their friends about the latest magazine covers, put on post-pregnant celebrities.

I personally have no doubt in my mind that Jessica will lose the weight. For one reason, she has a massive Weight Watchers contract motivating her. She’s proven before she can be healthy and fit — and she’ll do it again. But she will do it on her own time and lose whatever amount of weight she (and Weight Watchers) wants.

By putting so much pressure and judgment on Jessica, people are in turn celebrating celebrities (who will remain nameless) who promote this Mommy-rexia or Preg-a-rexia idea that you should be super, super-skinny throughout pregnancy, even if it may sacrifice the needs of your unborn child.

One of my favorite pregnant celebrities is the gorgeous, talented, health-conscious and charitable Natalie Portman.

“I actually went back to being vegetarian when I became pregnant, just because I felt like I wanted that stuff,” Natalie admitted mid-pregnancy. “I was listening to my body to have eggs and dairy and that sort of stuff.”

She listened to her body, did what it wanted, and gave birth to a presumably healthy child. Not to say none of the mommy-rexia women did that — but what happens is they give “regular” pregnant women an unrealistic standard to attain during and after pregnancy, which has the potential to be dangerous.

So I say, while celebrity-watchers soak up tons of information about pregnant celebrities, like Jessica, instead of focusing on their weight, focus on what they’re doing (whether it be eating healthy, exercising, preparing) in anticipation of their child. And when the child is born, instead of dwelling on the fact that said celebrity still can’t fit into their size 25 jeans, focus on the beautiful new life they created. And hope they turn out normal…unlike some celebrity children.

What do you think? Do you think it’s right to judge how much weight a pregnant celebrity gains? And then to monitor their progress after they give birth? Or should we just let these women be? Weigh in below!

photo by: jvh33

Is There Such A Thing As ‘Too Healthy’ For Hollywood?

In his latest role in What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Joe Manganiello plays a super-fit guy who all the dads in the park envy because of his physique and bachelor lifestyle. There wasn’t much more to his role other than the fact that he could do fantastic pull-ups.

Perhaps Joe has a complex because he recently admitted:

“I got to LA in 2000, when we were coming off the ’90s: women looked like men and the men all looked like women. I was constantly being told, ‘You’re too healthy’, so there were four years where I essentially didn’t work.”

What a nice problem to have, being too healthy. #problems

Does this mean Joe never has a day where he wished he could trade his healthy lunch for something fried? Does this mean he never misses a day at the gym? Or does it mean he has struck the perfect balance of physical and mental health?

I’m not exactly sure what too healthy means in the finicky world of Hollywood. If I had to guess, Joe was looking for excuses for why he wasn’t booking jobs. But that’s just my opinion.

To many, Hollywood stars look super healthy. The girls are skinny and glowing, with healthy hair and skin. The guys are muscular and youthful looking. Everyone looks to be the picture of health.

But take someone like Miley Cyrus for example — she is on a gluten-free diet, and is super fit due to workouts like Pilates. But she also smokes cigarettes and can be spotted at a Hollywood club (albeit never caught with a drink in her hand) most weekend nights. Is that healthy? Sure it’s common, and every one has their vices — but Miley shouldn’t be admired as a picture of health (and trust me, she is. People genuinely aspire to follow her diet and workout regimen in hopes of looking as good as she does).

Or take a look at someone like Heath Ledger — he looked good didn’t he? No one knew the extent of his drug using and what was really going on inside of him

Hollywood is all about appearances. Your skin should look like you spent years out of the sun — compliments of plastic surgery. But it should also have that perfect California glow — hello tanning bed or spray tanning. You should have minimal amounts of fat on your body — but at what cost? Liposuction, sculpting, dangerous drug use — whatever it takes.

Everything in L.A. is an illusion. The “nicest” houses are hidden behind hedges so you can’t really tell what they’re like and the sets of the shows that you watch every week are easily torn down and replaced with new ones in this town.

But what does this “image talk” mean for Joe and his health? And for health in Hollywood in general? Is his picture of good health actually genuine and not the calculated work of a team of doctors, trainers, and drug dealers? Is that why he couldn’t book a job? Maybe. Or maybe he just didn’t have what it takes.

Health in Hollywood is — too often — an illusion. An illusion that becomes dangerous when these “role models” become societies idea of what healthy looks like and how they define healthy.

What did Joe look like back then? I don’t know. Nor could I really define what healthy looks like. But what I do know is that health is far more than skin deep. A lesson Hollywood could learn.

Do you think Hollywood promotes a healthy image for America? Do you think Joe could have been told he was “too healthy” for Hollywood? What is your definition of a healthy person? Weigh in below!

photo by: rwoan

Celebrities Raising Their Children Vegan/Vegetarian

More and more celebrities are raising their children veggie (their personal food value system). Which leads me to wonder: Should veganism or vegetarianism be a choice for adults to make or is it okay to push this lifestyle on your children?

When I was a kid I lived on a steady diet of chicken fingers, tuna fish and applesauce. Basically anything you can find on a chain restaurant kids menu. Don’t judge my parents — I loved those menus that came with crayons and the kid-friendly offerings and portions. So, for me, the idea of being raised vegan or vegetarian couldn’t be more foreign. If, as an adult, I made the decision to be either one, my parents would support me fully. Now, one could argue that allowing your child to subsist mostly on frozen peas, pb&js and Fruit Loops is another food value system being pushed on a child, but I tend to think that would be just a standard American diet, be that as it may.

Christine Taylor and Ben Stiller are the latest celebrities to go veggie — with Christine admitting it has changed her skin and energy level.

But Christine lamented she wished her children were changing their diet too.

“We have friends that are vegan and their kids came out vegan,” the Zoolander actress said. “I’m so jealous that they had the information and they started the kids early because now to go back, it’s a little harder.”

Bethenny Frankel — known for her ‘Naturally Thin’ diet, is one celebrity incorporating a veggie diet from the get-go with her daughter Bryn.

“As far as raising Bryn as a vegetarian, that was a personal choice,” the Bethenny Ever After… star blogged. “If Bryn is older and wants something at a party that isn’t vegetarian, I don’t want her to feel ostracized. She’ll find her way….I chose not to have her be vegan because I believe she needs the fat and protein in milk…Sometimes I need her to fill up on organic cheese. Her health comes first.”

Then there is Alicia Silverstone — who infamously bird-fed her child by transferring pre-chewed food from her mouth to his — who raises her son, Bear Blu, to be vegan.

“Bear was grown on vegan food and we’ll continue nourishing him with a healthy diet…He’ll be eating an organic plant-based diet,” Alicia explained. “I intend to take great care of his precious new baby body so I’m committed to giving him nothing but the purest and most healthy food possible. We want to keep his immune system strong so that he’ll be super healthy – which is just one of the many reasons he’ll eat vegan.”

I’m curious what you, Intent readers, think of raising children vegan or vegetarian. Were you raised that way? Did you or do you plan to raise your children like that? What do you think of this? Enlighten me! I know I have some bias here, only really knowing the way I was raised (and knowing that sometimes celebrities raise their children in strange ways [cough, cough Suri Cruise]), so I want your opinion!

I for one am glad that I was exposed to meat as a child. While I am the first to admit I could have benefited from being fed a wider variety of food, I am glad that I experienced what I did.

photo by: ekelly89

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard: Going Green, Veganism, Yoga and More

Dax Shepard recently did an interview with Joel McHale where the two bantered about a laundry list of things, including going green.

Joel mentioned he recently ran into Dax’s love, Kristen Bell at an L.A. grocery store, where “she lectured [him] about getting plastic bags.”

For the record, where I live in Los Angeles, stores won’t even give you plastic bags. You have to pay $.10 per bag if you don’t bring your own. Makes you learn fast (well, at least if you’re not a celebrity with little to no financial concerns).

“She was probably carrying around our big, green Costco bags,” Dax said knowingly.

“Yeah,” Joel said. “And I think I had a whole roasted chicken, and I was like, would you like some? And she said no, I’m a vegetarian, and I’m like, there’s a surprise!”

Clearly The Soup host hasn’t gotten the memo about all Hollywood going green. At least he had Kristen around to teach him.

Dax and Kristen have been going green as a couple. This made me think. Anytime you want to do something good, righteous, or in this case, financially sound, it helps to have a partner along with you. Even for those not in a relationship, think about it. If you want to recycle all your recyclables, and your roommate could care less, well, let’s just say you’ll see a lot of water bottles in the trashcan. And if you want to become a vegetarian and your BFF does it too, they’ll stop you from adding bacon to your salad in those first tough days.

This duo is all about working on bettering themselves together. The two recently went vegan together.

”It’s more about the health benefits than the ethics,” Kristen admitted of her recent decision to go from a vegetarian to vegan. “But it’s compounded by the fact that I love animals and feel better not eating them.”

Kristen, and her fiancée, don’t limit themselves to veganism when it comes to improving their health. In fact, they do a lot of things together that many of us over here at Intent swear by.

Kristen admitted that she and Dax recently started meditating, and enjoy a 20 minute session each day.

According to, which published an 100 Benefits to Meditation list, this may be one of the secrets behind their successful relationship.

Among the benefits are improved relationships, increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones, as well as increases in listening skills and empathy.

And there is no denying Kristen and Dax do not lack at all when it comes to intimate contact.

Kristen, who enjoy sunrise yoga sessions with her love admits that she holds hands with him during it.

“We nauseate ourselves with how mushy we are. It’s a wonderful way to connect,” she explained.

While I won’t say that I wouldn’t be mildly nauseous seeing a couple at sunrise holding hands doing yoga, there is definitely something to be said about it (and it’s slightly adorable – there I said it). Dax and Kristen have proved resilient to Hollywood pressures (among like many, many other couples) and choose to live a life beneficial to them — with meditation, yoga and green living. And who can argue that that isn’t a recipe for a lifetime of success?

What do you think? Do you think it’s good for couples to share meaningful moments of meditation and work together to be green? Do you have a friend who helps you eat and live healthy (and couldn’t do it without them)? Or do you prefer for these to be independent ventures? Weigh in below!


photo by: LabyrinthX

Khloe Kardashian Claims to Have Lost 20 lbs in 20 Days

Khloe Kardashian has proclaimed that she lost 20 lbs in 20 days on a magazine cover this week.

Generally, the youngest Kardashian sister is applauded for maintaining a healthy body image. I personally liked when she snapped back at her mom for criticizing her weight (props to you Khlo!). She definitely isn’t fat — she’s just perceived as so much bigger than her itty-bitty sisters. That’s got to be hard. She’s so much taller and bigger-boned than them, that even if she had the same BMI, she would still look a lot larger.

Fast forward to now, Khloe claiming to the world to be super skinny with her new weight loss. Yay for Khlo? No so much.

When I read that someone claims to have lost so much weight in such a small window of time, their reputation as a celebrity with a positive body image, in my mind, goes out the window.

No one should aspire to lose 20 lbs in 20 days. I’m not a doctor, but I would imagine without the help of the feeding tube diet or downright anorexia – this would be impossible.

Our culture demands immediate results. If you aren’t losing a pound a day, like Khloe claims to have, you are perceived as doing something wrong. You’re eating too much, not putting enough much time in the gym. Losing weight slowly is not an accomplishment, even though it’s healthy.

Sure it can be frustrating after a few super-healthy days, coupled with intense workouts, not to see results. It’s this lack of immediate results that makes many give up on their healthy goals and turn to a bag of chips.

And it certainly isn’t inspiring to look at the scale, not see results after your hard work, and then look at Khloe Kardashian purporting to have dropped so much weight in just under 3 weeks.

The Kardashian Family has done plenty of things that I personally think are in bad taste (and I’m sure many would agree with me). I don’t agree with Kim making a sex tape or having such an elaborate wedding with someone she was so clearly poorly matched with. And say what you want about Khloe and Lamar’s marriage today, I don’t agree with marrying someone you’ve known a month.

But those decisions affect only their family and a select few close to them. Posing on the cover of a magazine with these weight loss claims has the ability to make an impact on so many other people — possibly leading them to poor self-esteem and potentially even an eating disorder.

You’re not going to lose 20 lbs in 20 days. Instead, you should forget about Khloe’s goals and work on having more than 20 days of healthy eating and effective workouts.

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