October 12th, 2011
Happiness is the definition of Joy Cho. Do you read her style blog, Oh Joy!? It’s a delight. I love her “this and that” combos and that she incorporates all her passions from food to flowers. Not long ago she and hubby Bob announced that they were going to share their joy with a new bambino. And then we found out that it was a bambina (which is fab — Joy’s design sense has a distinct feminine sensibility).
She’s due super soon, and I’ve been laboring myself over what name matches them best. It should be something cheerful and slightly hip, but manage to stand the test of time. Here are a few recommendations/guesses. Will she go a heavy duty Agatha-Winifred route, with a happy-go-lucky Daisy, or with something else entirely? We’ll know soon!
Agatha - If anyone can pull off Agatha, it’s these two. Can they breathe new life into this old saint?
Blythe – If my name were Joy, the felicitous Blythe might be too tempting to pass up. It might be anyway.
Cecily – While Cecily may not mean “happiness”, it connotes it in the bounce and rhythm of the name.
Cordelia- Shakespearean Cordelia. She could go by Coco or Dells, Delia or Cora. Though Hollywood’s already gone there, the symmetry of Coco Cho could be appealing to a designer.
Daisy – If ever there was happiness wrapped up in a name, it would be here.
Elsa – Should they opt with short and sweet like mom’s name, Elsa is like the chic up-do of Ella.
“Flossie” (Florence?) – The British are coming, and names like Flossie are long overdue on these shores.
Georgina- I do see these two picking something with a vintage European flair. Though I don’t know him one iota, perhaps daddy Bob would like having a daughter George, but Georgina is just enough frills for mom?
Harriet- Compiled before yesterday’s bombshell of an announcement, I almost left this one off. While I can’t see them choosing to call a daughter Hattie now, Harriet is still just the right amount of retro for a pair like the Chos to bring it boldly back to the fore.
Imogene – I was preferring Imogen until I met a local girl who uses the long E version. It’s due to return, so I bequeath it to this baby.
Louisa- While sister names Sophia and Olivia reign, Louisa is another queen’s classic that has been overlooked. They could be “Lulu” types.
Marjorie- Yes, I love Marjorie for many of the reasons mentioned above. Retro chic, unexpected, and undeniably peppy on the right child.
Mirabel- Will Joy go for something classically “pretty”?
Penelope – My gut instinct and first thought for them. Not sure if the celebrity birth of Tina Fey’s babe will have any bearing on this one way or the other.
Poppy- While it could be a nickname for Penelope, it deserves its own entry. Poppy Cho has designer written all over her.
Susannah- Will somebody please use this? You could call her Zuzu, Susie, Sanna, so many options!
Sylvie- Sylvie gives the somewhat dowdy-but-not-dowdy-enough Sylvia a lift.
Tabitha- It would take just one more style maven in the public eye to push this into the mainstream. That of course may not be what Joy wants.
Viola- Love the long O repetition of this with Cho. Fits the criteria we’ve set up nicely.
Winifred- I’ve met several Chinese women named Winnie, no doubt because it works well in both languages. I believe Bob’s family is Chinese, I’d be just tickled if they had a little Winifred.
September 27th, 2011
The consultation bonanza continues, but this time we have twice as much work ahead of us because Amber is expecting twin girls. She writes:
I love reading your blog and am hopeful that you and your readers can help me! My husband and I are having a terrible time trying to come up with names for our twin girls. I love feminine, romantic names but want to stay away from anything too popular. We both love the name Charlotte, but I feel like every other baby that I encounter these days is named Charlotte. Another name that we are both fond of is Estelle. The problem with Estelle is that it was my Maternal Great Grandmother’s name and since I was very close to both my Maternal and Paternal Great Grandmothers I feel strange about honoring one and not the other (for the record Great Grandmother # 2′s name was Ethel Frances – I’m not a fan of Ethel and my husband doesn’t like Frances even for a middle name). I’m considering striking Estelle from the list for that reason alone.
Add in our extremely long, hard to spell-and-pronounce last name and I’m stumped. In light of the last name I feel like we should use something short and simple to spell but my heart is with longer, romantic names. Also to save you from having to Google, our last name is of Laotian decent and is pronounced Vong-sam-pon. My husband immigrated to the US as a child from Laos and I’m an American “mutt” so our children will be half Asian, half Caucasian.
For additional info, names that I love but have been vetoed include Claudia and Colette. Names that are still on our “long list” include Adia, Alice, Blair, Danica, Noelle, Paige. They are all fine names – I just don’t LOVE any of them. Any advice or suggestions you have would be so appreciated! Thank you so much!!
We are still far from agreement but we have found that we really like Rose as a first name. I’ve also come up with the name Faith to be used to honor my Paternal Great Grandmother as she was very religious. I’m not a big fan of Faith as a first name, but by using it as a middle name I feel like I can keep Estelle on the table. Anyway, like I said, we are still miles away from a decision but those are the latest names we’ve hit on. Hope you are doing great and thanks again!
Amber I’m so glad you have come to us. Congratulations on your impending babes! What fun that we get to live vicariously through you as you get to name two little ladies at once. But perhaps it’s not all fun and games for you. Let’s see if we can parse this out.
There are actually three names that SCREAM out at me from reading your letter. Charlotte, Estelle, and Rose. You both love these names as first names, right? That’s huge! Don’t discount your favorites just because on may be getting popular. This is the name that you’re going to be calling your child every day for the rest of her life, the name that she will always live with and introduce herself as. For you both to love the name Charlotte is nothing short of monumental. It sounds great with either Rose or Estelle, and I think it’s one to keep on the list.
You also both love Rose as a first name. It’s a very common middle as you probably know, but as a call name? Highly underused. It’s recognizable the world over and it’s one syllable is brilliant with your lengthy foreign surname. Another winner.
Third, you both love Estelle. Why look elsewhere? You have me wishing triplets on you. I completely understand wanting to honor both your great-grandmothers and think that’s definitely still possible in the middle. If you honored one girl with Estelle, would you honor the other with Faith in the middle?
You said you didn’t love the name Faith, but because your grandmother was religious, feel it would be an appropriate homage to her. Are there other names that might honor her equally well that you actually love? For example, Faye and Fidelity both represent faith, but you also might want to consider her birth month, stone, or flower. Is there anything else that she particularly loved that might represent her? Alternatively, does your husband have anyone on his side of the family he would like to honor?
Twins’ names are tricky. You want names that balance one another, but are decidedly different so as to help them craft their own identities. Estelle and Rose, Rose and Charlotte, or Charlotte and Estelle all work brilliantly. They are more eternally classic than some of the other names on your list (Blair and Paige come to mind). Alice from your long list works beautifully with your top choices too. I’m sorry your husband doesn’t like Frances.
Should you want to branch out beyond your top names, here are a few sweetly quaint names that might be a good match with your family.
Readers, what would you do in Amber’s situation? Has Charlotte reached its saturation point, or is it a classic that will stand the test of time? What name pairings do you like?
Illustration by Emily Finan
September 26th, 2011
Lots of pleas for help in the inbox this month culminate in one great week of consultations. To start, put your thinking caps on and let’s assist Alexandria in naming her third. She writes:
Hello Elisabeth!Thank you so much for your website. I’m a long time reader, but only now find myself in serious need of some baby-namin’ inspiration. And after pouring over your site for hours and hours, I’m so sure I’ve come to the right place. Here’s the situation:-My husband and I have two fab boys, Virgil Ephram and Hector Adrien, 5 and 2.5 respectively, and I am pregnant with our third. We’re so super psyched, and not so secretly crossing all our fingers and toes for a girl-But we’ve decided to not find out the sex of the baby until he/she arrives, so we’re trying to decide on names for a boy and a girl.-Some details about us and our naming style:-When we decided to give our first son the name Virgil, most people thought we were completely bonkers. We got, ‘Hahaha… but seriously, what’s his name?’s and “The poor kid…’s left and right and we just didn’t understand why. I mean sure, it’s a letter off from Virgin and it’s not terribly common, and we certainly took that into consideration and went back and forth a bit, but in the end we were just so in love with the name there really was no other option for us. We have zero regrets. At home we call him Virg (read like verge) affectionately but he goes by Virgil to everyone else and he wears his name very proudly for such a little guy. The story behind us choosing that is as simple as that, we just really loved it. Ephram is my father’s name.-Hector (Heck to us) was named for Hector of Troy, my most beloved literary character in all the literature I’ve ever read or studied (I literally weep over my book every time I read his death. I can’t even explain the connection I feel with him). Since I first read the Iliad as a girl I’ve wanted to have a son to call Hector. And I do, and his name suits him so perfectly. Adrienne is my husband’s mother’s so Adrien is in homage to her.-We love names from literature and myth, uncommon names, sturdy names. My husband’s last name is Armstrong. Some names we’ve been thinking about but simply aren’t in love with (asterisks next to the top contenders):-Girls: For a girl we want something feminine, but strong. Nothing too frilly and that fits in with the boys.Hero*CordeliaViolaEttaGaia*LaviniaValentinaPhebeConstanceOphelia-Boys: Again, something strong that goes with the boys.OrionSebastienLuca*Silas*RemusCorneliusDimitriOthelloPhinnaeus-I hope this gives you an idea of our tastes and what we’re looking for for our third-to-be.Any input is beyond appreciated.-Cheers,Alexandria
September 16th, 2011
Do you read the hopelessly creative and utopian blog, No Big Dill? The Dill family has five beautiful daughters: Divine, Pearl, Olive, Azure, and Clover, and mama just gave birth to their first son. As of today, he remains nameless.
Let’s help, shall we? They seem to have a predilection for nature names, but the names largely have Christian undertones to them (the family, like many of the most amazing bloggers out there, is Mormon). It will be interesting to see if the Dills keep with the same naming traditions they’ve gone with for their daughters, or if this being their only son will have them opt for a more traditional choice. Will they repeat initials for the first time?
Here are a few names that I feel would fit seemlessly into their crew. What do you think suits this child?
Theodore, nn Theo
September 1st, 2011
Amelia writes with a very intriguing conundrum. Please help us find names for her baby:
Hi! I love your blog and thought I’d write in with my own culturally complex name query.
I’m Cuban-American, he’s Jewish, and with a baby on the way, we want to chose a name that’s appropriate to both contexts. We’re planning on hyphenating the baby’s name, so we want a name (or at least a nickname) that’s fairly simple and straightforward to go with the mouthful at the end. So far our top picks are Loretta (“Letty“) or Zoila (“Zadie“) for a girl, or Louis (“Lou“) or Modesto (“Moe“) for a boy. We’re also picking out a corresponding Hebrew name (e.g. Ayelet for Letty, Moshe for Moe).
All the best,
Hello Amelia, you’ve come to the right place! What a fun challenge. I love that you’re attempting to honor both cultures. It IS possible. Your approach, looking at Latin names that can be adapted to Jewish culture via nickname, is so creative, and just my kind of thing. There are some names that work well in both cultures, and my suggestions are mostly crossovers.
I would like to hear from our readers what Latin names they can come up with that have Jewish nicknames, or visa versa. So clever!
Jacob / Diego
Elijah / Elias
Ephraim / Efraim / Efrain
Joachim / Joaquin
Joshua / Josue
Noah / Noe / Noa
Simon / Shimon
Adina / Adelina
Aliza / Elisa
Chaya / Eva
Rebeca / Rebecca / Rebekah
Rimona / Ramona
Susana / Shoshannah
Thalia / Talia
Image: Michael Eastman
August 5th, 2011
Lauren is due any day and I’m afraid this got stuck in my inbox. Please help her as they decide whether or not to stick with a theme:
Hi, I found out about your website from Babble and am having so much fun reading your posts! I am the oldest of six children, and my mom loved names that end with n, which also sounded great with our surname Carro11… so we came out Lauren, Devin, Caitlin, Ryan, Allison, and Ethan.
Then, as the oldest, I started having kids first. Our girl was named pretty easily–Megan. Then we had a boy, and my husband insisted on Gavin, a friend from elementary school. I wanted Benjamin, who became our third child and second son.
So, without really trying, we continued my mom’s “n” tradition. (My sister Caitlin had her first. Always the rebel, she named him a very trendy, literary-type name.)
We are pregnant with our fourth child, a little boy. Although I love so many names that don’t end in “n”, I feel like since this is our last child we should finish the tradition.
So, what should baby brother of Megan, Gavin, and Benjamin be called? I’d like it to end with n and perhaps not start with M, G, or B.
Names on the list:
Anderson (a family surname)
Curran (another family name, which was spelled Curin)
Cullen (do you think Twilight ruined it?)
Logan (too close to Megan?)
Griffin (another G)
Finnegan/Finnian (rhyming brothers: Ben and Finn?)
Collin (Megan’s top pick)
Names we love but are already overused by family:
Aaron (husband’s middle name)
Middle name is most likely James, and last name starts with R and ends with -ins.
Sometimes I just want to buck tradition and name him Ezra or Harper…
I’d love input from anyone. Thanks!
Lauren, as vast as the world of baby names is, I would probably be inclined to stick with your theme at this point and choose a name that ends in N. That is of course, unless you are madly in love with a name that you don’t list here? This doesn’t appear to be the case, but I had to laugh at this: “Sometimes I just want to buck tradition and name him Ezra or Harper…” given that Harper is becoming the go-to name for girls it might buck tradition, but not for the reason you think.
Mostly I will turn this over to readers for their thoughts on your list and for more suggestions. A few quick notes: Yes, I think Twilight ruined Cullen if you don’t care for the association. I would discard Griffin and Finn for their similarity to Ben as you noted. If Collin is your first pick I see no reason not to run with it, though unless you are naming him for someone specific, the spelling Colin is probably the most intuitive.
Readers, should Lauren feel obligated to stick with their ‘N’ endings, or do you urge her to branch out? What are your choices for this family?
Image: New York Daily News
July 26th, 2011
Here’s a query I bet many of you can relate to:
So I have a bit of a ‘name emergency’, if there is such a thing! I am pregnant with my first baby, sex unknown, due August 4th. My husband and I had roughly decided on a name or two for both a girl and a boy, but the events of the last week have thrown all that into question…
We have been settled on middle names for both a boy and a girl for some time now – “Brooke” if it’s a girl (the middle name of both my mother and myself, which I actually go by), and “Kennett” if it’s a boy (the name of my husband’s grandfather). Our last name is Bland, though I’d say we’re anything but!
First names, however, we’re struggling with! My husband hadn’t been too fussed about girl names in general; I’d narrowed my favorites down to Harper and Audrey and was leaning towards Harper. Until…you guessed it…Posh Spice chose that name for her baby!! <insert big sigh here> My one concern with Harper was that it was going to be the next Aidan, which I desperately don’t want, and now I’m feeling like that fear was well founded! So, while I still love Harper, I think it’s back to the drawing board. Some of the names I’d considered before narrowing the list to Harper and Audrey were Elyse, Catherine (Cate), and Piper (which my husband hates!). Since I’ve started looking for inspiration again, I’ve put Haven and Ellery on the list, though the hubby doesn’t seem to thrilled about those either! At the moment, there are *no* girl names that we even sort of agree on!
As far as boy names go, my husband has been telling everyone for almost the whole pregnancy that we’ll name a boy Clayton. And while I like Clayton alright (I’d want to call him ‘Clay’), I can’t say I *love* it. ”Clay Bland”? Just not sure about that. Some of the names I liked were Ethan (though wouldn’t use this…too popular!), Owen, Oliver, William (again, perhaps too popular), Graeme (though again, probably wouldn’t use this – “Graeme Bland” has too many similar phonemes for my speech pathologist self!). I came across the name Beckett the other day, which I love, but ‘Beckett Kennett’ clearly doesn’t work! So, again, I’m stumped. I feel like I can’t come up with something better than Clayton to sway the hubby, but I don’t really want to name our baby something I’m just so-so on! (if indeed it is a boy!)
I’m hoping to find something that’s not too common, but not too ‘out there’…if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! So glad I found your blog…it’s been a great reference!!!
Thanks so much!
Brooke, you’ve come to the right place. I know how agonizing this can be, and in the eleventh hour, for David and Victoria Beckham of all people to choose the name that you love? A travesty.
Regarding Harper specifically, you have to look into your heart for this one. In addition to the Beckhams, Tiffani Thiesen, Lisa Marie Presley, Neil Patrick Harris, Dave Grohl, and Eddie Vedder all have daughters by the same name (how’s that for a diverse list?) It is the celeb baby name du jour. But will you regret not choosing your favorite name? Every time you hear Harper, will there be a pang of sadness that you didn’t choose it for your daughter, or will you be grateful that you dodged the popularity bullet?
As far as boys’ names go, Oliver and Owen are great names to consider! William is forever a classic but Ethan may date. I agree that Clay Bland is all too “pottery studio” to be a great name. And best to avoid names that repeat the “ett” ending in Kennett.
Playing off the Western vibe of Clayton and the more traditional names on your list, here are some boy suggestions for you:
Since you’ve chosen the middle name Brooke for a daughter, you might want to avoid short one syllable names and anything nature-oriented. While I think Audrey, Elyse (prefer Elise), or Catherine would be perfectly serviceable and rather lovely names for your daughter, I take it you and your hubby need a new influx of ideas. I see your girl list going in different directions from the super classic (Catherine) to the terminally surnamey (Ellery) and I’ve tried to honor this with a list of crowd pleasers of different genres:
Girl Suggestions For You:
Readers, with the tricky surname Bland, what can you suggest that Brooke and her husband may like? Would you discard your favorite name for fear of it going the way of Aidan?
Illustration by Charley Harper
July 20th, 2011
A big thank you to my readers Kristen and Debbie for urging a return to this topic:
Rebecca Woolfe is just taunting us! After our speculative Girl’s Gone Child post I really wanted to let her completely surprise us, but she has alluded to twins “Rhythm and Blues”– their pseudonyms, and even bought the letters “R” and “B” for their room! So it seems a second shot at this is inevitable.
The question remains, after son Archer and daughter Fable, will she stick to word names for her twin daughters? My gut tells me yes. How will the names relate to one another?
Here are a few “R” and “B” names that to me, feel very her. We’ll have to wait until October to find out what they choose for sure!
B: Babette, Bijou, Boheme, Bronwen, Briar,
Blythe (on the discarded list, sadly), Bryony, Bronwen, Bard, Bright, Bloom, Bliss, Ballad, Bellamy, Brio
R: Reve, Reverie, Ray, Rhea, Rain, Raven, Rhapsody, Roxanne, Roxy/ie, Regina, Renata, Rio, Romy, Rowena, Rue, Runa, Ruth, Rune, Rowan
I absolutely love the way Reverie flows, its dreamy connotations, and the nickname “Rev” feels very rock and roll. Rune, a name I was previously unfamiliar with, has a layered meaning I can see appealing to them: according to Behind the Name, it’s derived from the Old Norse and means “secret lore.” Pronounced with two syllables, it’s a common name in Norway, though the Irish have a word with similar meaning, rùn.
For the Bs, Bloom keeps calling to me, as does Bijou. It’s so hard to speculate beyond this. I do love how R and B honor the mother (Rebecca nicknamed Bec), and wonder if this was subliminal or intentional. What do you think Bec and Hal will name their baby girls? What do you like paired together? Renata and Bloom ? Rune and Bijou . . .?
July 19th, 2011
Hi Elisabeth, my name is Nicola. My husband Francisco (Frankie) and I have four children and are currently expecting our fifth and six — boy/girl twins. Our oldest child is from my previous marriage and her name is Cherry Guadalupe, named for my ex’s mother Cherise and my grandmother Guadalupe. Together Frankie and I have Luis Francisco, Rafael Oscar, and Celesta Persephone. All three of our kids were named after family and friends.
With the twins, Frankie and I want to continue the theme of naming the babies after family and friends but we’ve almost run out of names that we like and wouldn’t mind having our children bear. With all of our other children, their names have some sort of correlation to their godparents’ names. Our son’s godparents are named Ronaldo Luis and Katherine Anne and our daughter’s godparents are named Michael Alessandro and Veta Narcisa.
For our son we thought about using Ronaldo’s intitials but incorporating Katherine’s name in some way. We really like the name Rey (spelled that way–not Ray) and Katherine (who is married to Ronaldo) has a maiden name of Leon Zayas. So, we feel that we should name our son Rey Leon Falto de Garcia. However, we don’t feel completely confident in his name and are still open to suggestions. We will consider other R names and also the idea of using Lorenzo as the middle name (Lorenzo is the hispanic version of Laurence, Katherine’s father’s name). We did consider Rey Lorenzo as well but feel that Rey Leon sounds nicer.
For our daughter we opted to not use any combination of initials but rather to use variants of her grandparent’s names to incorportate. We would like to incorporate my mother’s name, Rosalind, somehow though as well. For our daughter we are kind of considering giving her three names, two as her first and one as her middle. We decided that we would use Veta but we both like Veda better and we would also use Alessandra. So her name would be Veda-Alessandra Rosalind Falto de Garcia. You can see my concern in the fact that she would have an extremely long name and I am not sold on the whole hypenated first name. I have a very long name myself and it has always been a hassle between signing documents and getting documents mixed up due to the fact that they had the wrong first and last name, etc. It’s really just not something I want my daughter dealing with. I really don’t want to omit Alessandra from the name but we really also want to use Veda and Rosalind or some variant of Rosalind.
If you could help us in deciding on a name for our son and shortening the name of our daughter, it would mean the world to us! They will be here shortly and thinking about them entering the world without definite names is a scary thought for us. We appreciate your help so very much, thank you!
Oh and I mentioned that Cherry is from a previous marriage to clear the air that her name is in fact not Cherry Falto de Garcia — or Cherry Garcia! Her last name is actually just one name, she dodged a bullet on that one!
June 30th, 2011
So is this getting easier or harder?
For me, it’s getting easier to find a few rare gems I would actually use, but five? Let’s just say it would be hard to come to a consensus in my house.
Is anyone else as shocked as I am to see that Anne has slid all the way down to 608? What’s wrong with poor Anne? A definite sign of the times.
The rules: you have 5 kids, 2 boys, 2 girls, 1 of your choice from this list. Bonus points for including middles and or nicknames. GO!