Dear Gabby and Ben,

We don’t know each other but I feel like I know your family from Gabby’s deliciously satisfying blog, Design Mom.

So here’s where I come in and why I am writing.

You’re perfectly capable of naming children, as is evidenced by Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, and Betty.  What a seriously great set!  Retro yet current, they fall into one of my favorite categories I like to call “Fusty Yet Feisty.” Each one a surprise in its way, with their own individual integrity, yet they all hang together so nicely.

Please don’t take offense that I’ve taken the time to help name the next impending little Blair (I have large family envy.)  I hear it’s a girl and that she may possibly be your last.  Some lack the humility of your brood, but why not go out with a bang?  Selma was on here until I realized until I realized that Selma Blair was a famous actress.  Whew, that was a close one.  Others that didn’t quite make the cut?  Marjorie and Dorothy: while I’d love to see you use them, they stick out in length.  Bonnie and Blythe were axed so as not to take away from the specialness that is Betty Blair, the child whose name was so perfect, you didn’t dare sully it with a middle name.

Now you won’t hurt my feelings if you choose something else.  My readers will undoubtedly have wonderful suggestions of their own. (Come on guys!  Don’t let me down!)

So cheers to a happy family, easy-ish delivery, and healthy baby.

I can’t wait to see what you name her.



You Can’t Call It “It”!

  1. Rita-  Listed first because I’m convinced it’s a stroke of genius!  Echoes the vintage charm you favor and Ms. Hayworth 1940s fame.  The Beatles dug it too.  A diminutive of Margherita, meaning “pearl.”  Nobody’s resurrecting this one.  You should be among the first.
  2. Enid- Before you all put me in a straight jacket, don’t discount Enid so soon.  It has the long E sounds of the more readily accepted Edie and Evie, while remaining wholly unexpected.  Jonathan Franzen chose it for the fruit loop mother in his epic Americana novel, The Corrections. Thora Birch wore this name in Ghost World.
  3. Zelda- Yiddish roots meaning “blessed” and “happy”;  also a diminutive of Griselda.  Combines east coast 20′s sprite Zelda FitzGerald and modern middle America lore of Legends of Zelda.  Pick your poison.  While neither association is fabulous, rest assured the name still is, and would put a zingy exclamation point on your family of six.
  4. Polly- Simply sweet Polly, baby sister to Maude, Olive, Betty and the boys.  A diminutive of Mary.
  5. Luella- A great name for your first Colorado babe, Luella has gained some favor with the fashion forward set.  Rebecca Woolf of  Girls Gone Child has a Fable Luella. Della is another of the “Ellas” that meshes stylistically, though I could see you opting the more unassuming original Louise.
  6. Harriet- No doubt your youngest will be the little “home ruler”, this is one awesome name I would love to see gain some currency.  With the best children’s book EVER to recommend it: Harriet the Spy, lest we forget Harriet Beecher Stowe.
  7. Agnes- Greek origins meaning “chaste” and also associated with the lamb.  A seamless transition from Maude and Olive, and Gossip Girl creator Cecily Von Ziegesar has an Oscar and an Agnes. Agatha is another great that broaches three syllables.  Having grown up in Texas I have never been able to embrace the pet name Aggie, and Colorado is culturally close to Texas, so I’d probably stick with Agnes in full.
  8. Nancy- Form of Anne, means “grace.” Likely a big fat “no” because we all know Nancys in their fifties.  Still, if you love Betty you might love Nancy.  The Brits agree this is terribly chic on a young lady.  Then there’s Nancy Drew — for some reason I see this little girl as a prodigal child detective.
  9. Dinah – The only Biblical name on the list, this comes from the Hebrew for “vindicated.”  Firmly in the Hipster Camp, and perhaps the next big thing.  Still, the Blair family predicted the moderate rise of Oscar and Olive.  Dinah would fit right in, and manage to keep the sibset youthful.
  10. Helen- One can’t help but hold a “torch” for Helen.  Modest, beautiful Helen.  Like the rest of your Blair babies, this might throw people for a loop at first, but it is so easy to like. Nell is a short form that could stand on its on.  Nell Blair sings.


Above, L to R:  Ralph, Olive, Gabrielle, Oscar, Maude, Ben, and Betty Blair.  With permission from Mama Blair.

66 Responses to “ON BABY NAMES: Open Letter to Gabrielle and Ben Blair”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Love the names you’ve suggested.

    What about:
    Myra or

    These are some names that I adore.

  2. rockingfetal Says:

    I love her kids’ names and the suggestions too. I’d name her (in no particular order) Agnes, Frances, Edith, Pearl, Nell or Willa.

  3. nicole Says:

    I’m in love with Zelda for this family. If she’s going to be the last, why not go out with a bang? Zelda could never be an after thought.

  4. Meg Says:

    I absolutely love her childrens’ names.

    Some of your suggestions are subperb Elisabeth. I’m torn between voting for Polly or Agnes.

    A few more names thrown in that I personally think would be the perfect icing on her sibset ( several of my personal favorites included)-

    Zinnia ****
    Astrid ****
    Xanthe ***
    Fern **

  5. Meg Says:

    I totally agree they should go out with a bang. Something not too over the top but still says- “Look out world!! Here I am!”

  6. carolyn Says:

    Absolutely Harriet … it’s perfect!

  7. rita in mi Says:

    love that you picked my name first! :-)

  8. Megan Says:

    Didn’t Ralph’s April Fool’s post call her Flora? I thought that was dreamy wonderful. I say use it! Or what about Josephine?

  9. Heather Says:

    Pearl. It’s perfect! I great way to let the last born know she is never an afterthought, but the pearl of the family!

  10. HennyPenny Says:

    The Blair’s names are utterly dreamy! What a lovely set, indeed. I voted for Zelda. It’s a long time love of my own, and definitely captures the fusty but feisty vibe. I think almost any of the suggestions in your post would work wonderfully…though Zelda, Louise, Harriet, and Nell are the stand-outs imo. I adore Polly, as well; but agree with someone who commented on the poll that it might be a tad too close to Olive. The suggestions of Frances and Adele are brilliant, as well. A few of my own ideas…Alice, Maxine, Martha, Trudy, Sylvie.

  11. christen Says:

    What about Ruby or Lucy?

  12. Tonya Says:

    I am in love with the name Silvia! I also liked Dinah, although I am partial to Bible names:)

  13. Jenn Cseh Says:

    i really like the name melora lately.

  14. DeAnn Says:


  15. British American Says:

    I vote for Edith too. :)

    I’m really glad you wrote this post. I bookmarked Gabby’s blog recently – just so I could find out what name they decide on. But then I lost the link! So now I have rebookmarked. :D

  16. aztoonces Says:

    Well shoot…I have to vote for Luella. I’m a former Colorado girl who had a much beloved Aunt Luella. But my real soul vote is Rita…oh yeah. That’s a name to own and grow into…a pearl of great price (see Matthew 13:46)

  17. Nikki Says:

    I have been a big fan of Design Mom for a few years now and I can hardly wait to hear what the newest little Blair will be named. I’m partial to Harriet or Polly as I think these are good fits however, my vote would be for Lucy. It was one of my choices for my daughter but was vetoed by my husband as our neighbours dog is named Lucy so we went with Molly instead. But Lucy Blair…how perfect.

  18. youcantcallitit Says:

    It was Flora. Flora Bethany. They could easily use that and just call it a day. Josephine is always lovely.

  19. youcantcallitit Says:

    Pearl is pretty perfect. It’s not in the original post because I thought Pearl Blair kind of ran together, but now I’m rethinking.

  20. Elizabeth Says:

    Oooh….I second Ruby.

    Ruby Blair! Perfect.

  21. sally Says:

    Opal, Coral or Pearl seem to fit in well with what they already have.

  22. Angel Says:

    I noticed her kids all have five letters, so some of these would be perfect.

  23. brooke Says:

    but dot is one of the cutest nicknames ever.
    plus red shoes would always be a must.
    (and dorothy is my moms name and she is pretty much the coolest ever)

  24. Katy Says:

    What an interesting and well thought out list. And how fun to “name” someone elses baby. How can I not play along? Here are my suggestions:

    1) Tess
    2) Cora
    3) Dinah (from your list)
    4) Lena (my SIL’s name and I LOVE it, as suggested by first commenter Elizabeth)
    5) Ruth (from Elizabeth again)

  25. The Foxymoron Says:

    As usual, you are so good at this, Elisabeth! Your suggestions are fantastic. (I, too, have “large family envy” – oh to be able to choose and use all those wonderful names!)
    For the Blairs, I find it hard to choose between Hazel, Rita, Martha, Sylvie, Enid, Agnes, Harriet, Edith and Flora. All would fit their family very well, me thinks. I’m also wondering about Maeve and Eliza. Can’t wait to hear what they choose!

  26. doreen Says:

    My 13 year old’s name is Lydia – classic. No one in her school has that name, and it has such a pretty ring to it. I had a great aunt named Lydia, who didn’t like her name, so we called her Aunt Honey. When I found out many years after she died what her real name was, I thought it was beautiful.

  27. British American Says:

    I love Dot for a nickname too. :)

  28. British American Says:

    Opal would be a good choice. :)

  29. Jennifer (The Fuss) Says:

    Ok, I voted for Agnes in the poll (as stated before) but I couldn’t resist making my own list for her.

    Nan (I like this more than Nancy, for some reason)








    Dorothy ( I think this is so perfect!!)



  30. hails Says:

    cora blair.

  31. julie r Says:

    love, LOVE Nell and Pearl! they are two favorites of mine and we’re expecting #3 in July – if it’s a girl, i’ll be rooting for one of these. also love Greta, which means pearl in German. Opal is wonderful – my great-gma’s name in fact, but my hubby’s not too excited about that one. hope these suggestions help, though i know you’ll pick a FAB name for baby Blair!

  32. hails Says:

    cora blair. i’ve said my piece.

  33. kirsten Says:

    My sister is also expecting a baby girl soon and refuses to commit to a name. So here are some of my suggestions:

    Charlotte (maybe not the best fit with the other Blair children names…but Charlotte Blair couldn’t possibly be a sweeter name)

    Minnie (come on, how cute?)

    It feels so good to write out baby girl names. Why is that?

  34. Alex Says:

    Nicely compiled information. Keep up the good work!

    Congratulations to the family!

    I like Agnes from your list.

    My personal favourite is Mia.

  35. Mummie Says:

    Here’s my list of ten. Some are stolen. I decided to stick to a five-letter rule.


  36. Crystal Says:

    I sent DesignMom an email on this very topic months ago and my personal suggestions were (5 letters per name, of course):


    I thought I would throw my names out there too.

  37. Crystal Says:

    And maybe Tessa too…

  38. youcantcallitit Says:

    Fab list Crystal! Edith is becoming a fast favorite of the ones I didn’t list.

    Honestly, how big a deal is this five letter thing do you think? Would you feel confined to five letters because the siblings all have five letters? Or six to represent #6?

  39. Crystal Says:


  40. Crystal Says:

    Well, although it isn’t something I would do, I think that after five kiddos, they aren’t going to back down from the trend for #6. And how would you like to be the only one of five siblings without the five letter name? Not me.

  41. Jill Says:


  42. Wendy Hynes Says:

    Love “Hazel” and “Frances” (suggested in the comments).

    Some great options out there, good luck!

  43. youcantcallitit Says:

    Darla, Delia, Lorna, Sadie, Viola…

  44. Mummie Says:

    Just realized — Betty’s companion should be Wilma!

  45. youcantcallitit Says:

    I think we can safely count that one out?

  46. youcantcallitit Says:


  47. Lola Says:

    I suggest:
    Nora (or Norah to keep up the 5 letter names)

    These are young and refreshing.

  48. Mummie Says:

    Well only time will tell. If it weren’t for those pesky Twilight-y trends, Bella Blair would be rather stunning imo.

  49. Jeanette Mc. from Everton Terrace Says:

    I like Nancy and Rita – also Nora!

  50. heidi Says:

    so many good choices!
    Lottie (Lotti)
    Greta, (I’d use this one if it sounded good with my last name)
    and I like the suggestion for Nancy.

  51. Lisa Says:

    I have two daughters and their names are
    Cora and Ada. I love their names because they sre so strong and beautiful. Also my Ada was born in May so we named her Ada May. Ada May Blair sounds lovely dont you think?

  52. Lisa Says:

    Yes!!!! I so wanted to name at least one of my girls Edith but couldn’t convince my love, even though he calls me Edith. Most defineatly Edith is also a name that is strong and beautiful.

  53. Rita Says:

    I love Agnes, Alice and Frances!

    More (5-letter) ideas:

  54. Abbey Says:

    I vote Zola. All the benefits of Zelda, without video game connotations.

  55. Jaime Says:

    I had a hard time choosing – I LOVE Enid…love the meaning (life) and have loved it since reading the Sweet Valley High series as a preteen. ;) I also love Zelda (which got my vote for this family) and Agnes and Harriet and Helen. I also think Nell can stand on its own…but that Nelly works better with Blair.

  56. Vanessa Says:

    I have to say that I love the five names you have chosen thus far, and my picks for the next would be…

    Flora (how sweet!)

    Wishing you lots of luck!

  57. Sharon Says:

    Ruby Blair


    Sadie Blair

  58. Alex Says:

    What a sweet sibset, I’d love to meet a little Maude or Betty.

    I love Agnes and Dinah for their No.6.
    My suggestions:

    *My absolute favourite for this family.

  59. Laurie Says:

    How about Mabel or Mavis? Louise, Frances and Pearl are all nice.

  60. Kim Says:

    I love Helen, Edith, Agnes, or Mabel for this family. Can’t wait to hear what they name her.

  61. The Foxymoron Says:

    I thought of a few more suggestions to add to my earlier list – Joyce, Elsie and Celia. I can not wait to hear what they choose!!

  62. The Foxymoron Says:

    Ohhhhhhhh! I just saw on that Gabrielle has had her baby! No name announcement yet though…

  63. youcantcallitit Says:

    They had Flora June on Friday night, and are calling her June.

    I think it’s lovely, and can’t believe no one suggested June!

  64. The Foxymoron Says:

    I’m just gobsmacked that they broke the 5-letter-name pattern! Good on them! June really surprises me, but Flora totally seems like their style. Oh how wonderful to have a new baby!

  65. youcantcallitit Says:

    *Techinically* they didn’t. She has a 5 letter name first! I’m not really surprised they went with a one syllable name though. It comes full circle to Ralph and Maude, and they did a good job finding something that is the same era but has contemporary appeal. A tough balance!

  66. Lyndsay Says:

    Zelda Blair! I’m in love!

Leave a Reply