Friday, February 27, 2015

Month Names: March

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Happy (almost) March! March is a usually a gross month in Chicago--it's not quite Spring, and we still have a ton of snow. But, we are getting closer to those warmer months. I've come up with a list of names suitable for a March baby, let me know what you think.

Aquamarine- Marina, Marine, or Aqua would all work to honor this gorgeous gemstone. Aquamarine symbolizes courage, so Brave would work as well.

Birth Flower:
Daffodil- Daffodil is an eccentric flower name, but don't let that stop you from using her.
Jonquil- However, Jonquil is the other name for Daffodils, and works nicely on a boy.

Birth Colors:
White- Some good white-inspired names are Snow, Ivory, and Lacy, though Snow seems a little out of place on a March baby.

Star Sign:
Pisces- The Pisces symbol is a fish, so oceanic names like Pike, Roe, or Fisher would work nicely.
Aries- Aries itself works as a name, but if you want something a little more subtle, try Ariel or Ari.

Related to March:
Leo Names- March comes in like a lion, so why not use a Leo name? My favorites are Leo, Leopold, Leonie, and Leonardo.
March- March is a great month name, and one of the few that works better on boys.
Spring Names- March is the first month of Spring (hooray!), so any flower name would be perfect. Also consider Primavera, the Spanish word for Spring.
St. Patrick's Day- March 17th is St. Patrick's Day. Check out this list for ideas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

10 T Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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Is it already time for T names for girls? Yikes, we only have a few more letters left to do. I am really excited about this list today. There are some really good choices, so pay attention.

Tacy- I'll always have a soft spot for Tacy, after reading the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books when I was younger. She can be used as a nickname for Anastasia, and is perfect for honoring a Stacy.

Tamar- I love Tamar. She's a strong, powerful name that Americans should embrace. She has never been in the U.S. top 1000, but she is much more popular in Georgia and Israel.

Tamsin- Tamsin is a diminutive of the Thomasina, both of which are scarcely heard in the United States. She would work nicely as an honor name for a Tamara or Tammy.

Tarot- Are you a fortune teller? Maybe an astrology enthusiast? Consider Tarot for a daughter. She has a lovely sound, and would be a great middle name.

Thais- Thais is a gorgeous Greek name that has never been in the top 1000. She ranks at #4873, so it's practically guaranteed that she'll be the only Thais on the block.

Thisbe- Thisbe is a more well-known Greek name--because of her role in Greek mythology. Her story may be a tragic one, but her name is still a perfectly fine choice.

True- True is a Modern Virtue Name that works well on a girl or a boy. Cakies blogger Rubyellen used True for her daughter (with sisters named Brave, Soul, and Glow).

Tuesday- Days of the week names aren't particularly popular, but I think Tuesday is one of the best. She's a quirky day name without Addams family associations.

Tulia- Tulia wins for my favorite of the list. I recently met the most wonderful woman named Tulia, and she made me fall in love with her name. Tulia is perfect if you're looking for a more interesting alternative to Julia.

Twila- Twila peaked in the 1930s, which means she's almost ready for a comeback. Even though we may be a decade early, I think Twila would work really well for the 2015 baby of a night owl.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Westminster Show Dog Names

The Winner, Miss P.
I'm always fascinated by the way people name their pets. There are less rules when it comes to naming a pet--the name can be silly, outrageous, or one of a celebrity. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a great place to scout out dog names, with over 100 dogs in attendance. I wrote down the call names of *almost* every dog, which should give us a good idea of some trends in pet naming.

Animal Names 
Le Gato

Brand Names

Celebrity Namesakes
Mae West

Culture-Reflecting Names

Currently Trendy Names
Ben x2

Cutesy Names
Miss P.

Food Names
Pepper x2
Salumi, "Lumi"

Guys' Guy Names
Izzy (b)
Jerry x2
Rocky x3

Ladylike Names

Old Fashioned Names
Odin x2
Toby x2

Word Names
Blue x2

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nicknames for Isabella

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Isabella is an extremely popular name. She's one of those names that will be tied to a generation--not that that's a problem. Isabella is very elegant, so it's no wonder she's so trendy. But with a four syllable name, you sometimes need a nickname. Here are ten of the best choices.

Bella- She's the classic choice, but Bella's a bit overused in my opinion. I think Belle is a fresher option.

Belle- People have embraced Bella to the fullest, but left Belle out. She's a super sweet vintage pick. I prefer the spelling Bell to combat the Disney Princess vibes.

Ella- Ella is a darling name used mostly in her own right. That being said, I know plenty of girls who used Ella as a nickname. This could be a good compromise for parents deciding between Ella and Isabella.

Elle- Of course, I can't forget about Elle. She's a name girls love having--I know quite a few who chose it as their nickname.

Ellie- Ellie is on the rise in the U.S.. She is at #74 and rising. Considering she's a popular nickname for any El- name, it probably seems like Ellie is even more popular than that. Ellie is very charming, and would be a lovely, unique pick as a nickname for Isabella.

Elsa- Elsa is kind of a long shot, but she works. Isabella and Elsa both derive from Elizabeth, and all the letters of Elsa are hidden inside Isabella. If you need a creative way to get to Elsa, I'd say Isabella is a good option.

Elsie- I think Elsie works even better than Elsa. She's a little more nickname-y. Elsie is climbing the charts very quickly, and is currently more popular than Elsa, which may be something to consider.

Isa- Isa is delightful, almost nonexistent nickname for the Isabel- names. If you're looking for a nickname with some European flair, my suggestion is Isa.

Izzy- Like Bella, I consider Izzy a classic, but for kids my age. Bella is the nickname of choice for the younger crowd, but everyone my age named Isabella goes by Izzy. She's still a very viable nickname choice, and doesn't sound dated to me at all.

Sable- I love Sable as a nickname for Isabella. She's always my first suggestion. Guaranteed no other Isabellas on your block will be called Sable.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

10 S Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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What's your favorite S name for boys? I've been loving Soren lately. At #652, he's a smidge too popular to put on this list, and I'd say he's fairly well known. Instead, I have 10 names that don't appear in the top 1000 at all, and maybe even a few names you've never heard of. Tell me what you think.

Salinger- What better way to pay tribute to your favorite author than by giving your child their name? Salinger is one of my favorite literary heroes, and with names like Sullivan and Sebastian so popular, he seems to fit.

Sander- Alexander is a great name, but do you really want your son to be another Alex? Sander is the perfect nickname (and your son won't be Sander H. in the classroom). If you're not a big fan of Alexander, you can use Sander on his own, or as a nickname for Lysander.

Sanford- Looking for a cool way to get to Ford? Take a look at Sanford. He ranks at #5247, and has never made it above the top 400. Sanford is pretty close to Stanford though, so be prepared for some confusion.

Sasha- The boys are taking Sasha back. He's been used by many a celebrity (the most recent one being Shakira). Sasha has been falling for girls, but I expect to see an even sharper decline now that we've seen him on so many boys.

Satchel- I think Satchel is adorable. He's technically a word name--I believe it's a type of backpack in Europe (?)--but most Americans won't have that association.

Shaw- All those '80s babies named Sean are starting families. It can be fun to honor yourself with your child's name, but Shawna isn't really your style. The best way to honor Dad (or Mom, possibly) is Shaw. He's a simple, modern, and unique pick for a son.

Shepherd- Occupation names are all the rage, but Shepherd hasn't garnered much attention. He has a very sweet sound (and how cute would a sheep themed nursery be?). You can also spell it Shepard, but Shepherd is the original occupation spelling.

Simeon- Sure, Simon is cute, but depending on where you live there are three on every block. Simeon is a similar Hebrew name that is only at #1064.

Sorrel- Are you worried about Soren becoming insanely popular overnight, too? Welcome to the club. I don't love Sorrel quite as much as Soren, but he is my favorite of the list.

Stellan- I talked about Stellan in one of my first posts (apologies for the bad spelling/grammar). He's a fantastic name, especially if you love Stella, but not her popularity.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Car Inspired Names

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Car names are having a bit of a moment. It is evident in many a celebrity baby name. Reign Aston Disick, Lincoln Bell Shepard, and Ford Wilson are just a few examples. Not all of these babies were named after cars (though it seems like Reign and Lincoln might be), but nevertheless, parents are inspired by them. Take a look.

Alfa- The Alfa Romeo (that's ro-MAY-oh) is a beautiful and expensive car. She's pure luxury--and a ravishing girl name.

Aston- As a name, he's a modern version of Austin. If he follows the trend of Kourtney Kardashian's other kids' names, we should be hearing a lot more of Aston in the coming years. As far as cars go, Aston Martins are fit for a king.

Bentley- My first association with Bentley used to be the car--but then Teen Mom happened. After the show premiered, the name went from being essentially unused to the top 100.

Dodge- Dodge may be the most obscure name on this list, but he definitely works. Now, I'm not suggesting you name your child after your minivan or Dodge Charger--instead, think of him as a word name. Dodge fits in with all the hyper-masculine names. Use him as a brother for Gunnar, Ryder, or Colt.

Ford- Short, powerful, and slightly preppy. It's easy to see the appeal of Ford. Henry Ford and the Model T are excellent historical namesakes.

Kia- She's not the first car name that comes to mind, but Kia is lovely underused name. I talked about her here a few months ago. The only major turnoff is the Kia gerbils (are they gerbils? Hamsters?), but that advertisement hasn't been played in a while.

Lexus- Lexus is a variant of Alexis--the spelling probably inspired by the car company. She peaked in 1996 at #449, around the same time as Alexis (although she made it up to #3). The spelling is a little too commercial for me, but she has a great sound.

Lincoln- Like many of the names on this list, Lincoln has a lot of different associations, and the first one is not necessarily a car. Lincoln is rising for both genders, and recently made the top 100 for boys. Car-wise, Lincolns are the cars used to make limousines. Not too shabby.

Lotus- Lotus is a gorgeous name and an incredibly fancy car. Along with being a car name, she's one of my favorite unexpected flower names.

Mercedes- Mercedes-Benz is a popular brand of German cars, and Mercedes is a popular '90s baby name. She is starting to sound a little dated, but the nickname Sadie freshens her up.

Porsche- Porsches may be extravagant cars, but the name Porsche is a pretty gaudy. I much prefer Portia--the beautiful Shakespearean name.

Royce- Royce has never been too popular--he peaked in 1935 at 284. He's been rising lately, but is still no where near his peak. If you like Rolls Royces, this could be a perfect pick for you.

Tesla- These new electric cars are named after the famous inventor Nikola Tesla, and are some of the hottest cars on the market. I've talked about Tesla as a nickname for Tess, and I still love the idea.

I'm taking off Monday for Presidents Day, so I'll see you all on Wednesday for S names for boys.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

10 S Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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How do you feel about giving your child a name that starts with the same letter as your own? Many families try to avoid this, but I don't mind it at all. Besides, with all the great S names out there, I would hate to rule them out for that reason. S is a very popular initial for girls--twelve of the top 100 start with S. If you're not into popular names--don't worry--I have some fantastic options for you.

Sable- Sable is not a name you hear often. She's only ever appeared in the top 1000 once--in 1986 she ranked #904. Sable seems ready for revival. She shares sounds with the popular Sadie, and would also work as a nickname for Isabella.

Saskia- Saskia is a gorgeous Dutch import with some serious potential. Americans adore Sophia--a three syllable S name that ends in -ia--so why not Saskia? She'd fit right in.

Season- I adore the name Season. She's ethereal, feminine, and perfectly obscure. Sea makes a lovely nickname.

Sidonie- This exquisite French appellation will likely be confused for (the less glamorous, more trendy) Sydney. Is it worth it? I say yes.

Siri- I know Siri is the name of the voice in your phone. But if you can get over that, she actually makes a really nice name. Her minimalist Scandinavian style is very hip. Bonus points: name her sister Iris for an anagram.

Solange- By now, everyone's heard of Solange Knowles--aka, Beyonce's beautiful younger sister. Solange's stardom has put her name on people's radar screens, but it doesn't seem to be catching on. Last year she ranked #2996 on the popularity charts. All the more reason you should use her.

Soleil- Soleil is the French word for sun. She maintains a sunny disposition without being as hippyish as the more American Sunshine. Lei or Sol would work well for nicknames.

Sonnet- Looking for a Shakespearean name that's not quite so--Shakespearean? Use Sonnet. She may not be Shakespearean in the traditional sense, but Sonnet brings him to mind.

Sosie- There are nicknames for Sophia beyond Sophie. Check it out. One of my favorites is Sosie. She's quirky and cute (and also works as a nickname for Susanna).

Suki- Speaking of Susanna, how about Suki? I happen to like her on her own, but many people would only consider Suki as a nickname. Susan is now officially a grandma name, so why not consider Suki to honor her?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Full Names for Ash

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Ten years ago, anyone you met named Ash was a girl. Her full name was most likely Ashley, and she was probably born in the late eighties. It's not that easy anymore. With the rise of names like Ashton and Asher, Ash has slowly become an acceptable name for boys. Ash is a great modern nickname for either gender. Any of the following names would be perfect for a full name.

Aishling or Ashlyn- Don't be fooled--these two names are pronounced the same way. Aishling is the authentic Irish spelling, but if you prefer Anglicized names, use the phonetic Ashlyn.

Ashanta- Ashanta is an extremely rare name, fewer than five baby girls were given the name last year. Nonetheless, she's absolutely gorgeous.

Ashanti- Ashanti can be used for both genders, but she's currently more popular for baby girls. This African name is the most popular in Mexico, but ranks at #1146 in the U.S. Perfect for the family looking for a name that's familiar yet uncommon.

Ashari- This lovely name is my favorite of the list. She's quite common in Southeast Asia, but her origins are unknown. Ashari has a beautiful sound, and her similarity to the Hebrew name Shari makes her a good choice for families with blended heritage.

Ashby- Ashby is the most unisex name of this list, being 70% male and 30% female. Even though it seems like a very contemporary name, Ashby peaked in the year 1918. Back then he was only used for boys, but started being used for girls in the late '60s.

Asher- Last year Asher was ranked #104, the highest he's ever been. It seems like he may be hitting a plateau, but he could break the top 100 this year. It's easy to see why everyone loves Asher--he's a very charming name (plus, he means "happy").

Ashland- I figured Ashland would be used slightly more for girls than for boys, but I was surprised how much. 85% of all Ashlands born last year are female, and only 15% are male. I prefer Ashland on a boy--is it just me, or does the -land suffix feel very masculine?

Ashley- This out-of-favor eighties darling is falling quickly, but still remains in the top 100 (at #67 nonetheless). For a 2015 baby, choose one of the other options instead.

Ashton- Ashton Kutcher definitely propelled his name into the spotlight. It reached peak popularity in 2004, and has stayed in the top 200. My guess is that he will drop out off the top 300 in the next few years.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Names from Children's Literature

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Children love anything with their name on it. Thank goodness we live in the digital age, because now you can personalize everything imaginable. Even books. A whole new industry has been created--its sole purpose is to make your child the main character of his or her books. This is great (and very cute), but it's also fun to share a name with a classic character. I've compiled a list of main-character names from award-winning children's books--see if you can sense a theme.

Alice- Alice in Wonderland 
Anne- Anne of Green Gables
Charlotte- Charlotte's Web
Coraline- Coraline
Eloise- Eloise 
Frances- Bread and Jam for Frances
Harriet- Harriet the Spy
Madeline- Madeline
Margaret- Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
Matilda- Matilda
Meg- A Wrinkle in Time
Olivia- Olivia
Pippi- Pippi Longstocking
Ramona- Ramona the Pest

Alexander- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Charlie- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Clifford- Clifford the Big Red Dog
David- No, David!
George- Curious George
Harry- Harry Potter
Hugo- The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Max- Where the Wild Things Are
Milo- The Phantom Tollbooth
Stanley- Holes

Don't all these names sound like they belong in one big sibset? I was a little surprised to see so many classic, British names. I've read all these books (with the exception of Coraline and A Wrinkle in Time), and all of the title characters are worthy namesakes. If these names are your style, definitely consider one for your child. Trust me, it's a lot of fun.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

10 Names R You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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The only two R names for boys in the top 100 are Ryan and Robert. Those are both great names, of course, but some parents are looking for something a little more unique. These 10 boys names I'm going to talk about today are just that--none of them are even in the top 1000.

Rafe- Rafe is sometimes used as a nickname for Rafferty or Ralph, but I think he's fine as is. I can picture a Rafe at any age--which is important when it comes to naming your child.

Rafferty- Rafferty is a great Irish boys name with tons of potential. He seems to be a hipster favorite right now, but I could see him gaining favor overall.

Ralph- Many people don't know this, but Ralph has two pronunciations. He can be said like Rafe, or you can pronounce the L. Most people use the latter. I was surprised to learn he wasn't in the top 1000, Ralph fits in with many of today's vintage picks like Theodore and Maxwell.

Reading- Reading is pronounced RED-ing, not like the verb. He's stylish pick with a rare -ing ending. He would be perfect for parents from Philadelphia, to honor the city's Reading Terminal Market.

Ren- Ren could be a nickname for so many boys names--Warren, Lawrence, Soren, etc. By himself he sounds effortlessly cool and masculine. His briskness makes him an excellent choice for people with long last names, or the middle position.

Reynold- Reynolds is quite a popular surname, but hasn't yet become a first name option. If Reynolds is a surname in the family, consider adding Reynold to your list of baby names. Plus, you can always call him Ren.

Rhodes- I've heard a lot of Rhodes among the hipster crowd, but nowhere else. He strikes a perfect balance between preppy and hipster--two trends Americans are fond of.

Ridge- Once society finds out about Rhodes, I suspect the hipsters will move on to Ridge. He's an Urban Nature Name--hippies won't use him, but hipsters will.

Rockwell- I've talked about Rockwell quite a few times before (here, here, here, and here). He's modern and chic--and you can call him Wells!

Rumo- Rumo is a very sweet name, best known in the context of these books. He may be a "made-up name," but I think he would work well on a baby.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Month Names: February

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Ooh, I love February. Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday (tied with Thanksgiving), and we are getting closer to Spring. If you are having a February baby, you should think about using a February name. Take a look.

Amethyst- February's birthstone is the Amethyst, but if that's too crazy for you, use a different shade of purple like Lavender, Plum, or Violet

Birth Flower:
Violet- Speaking of Violet, that's February's birth flower! She's a colorful vintage flower name, and Blake Lively just chose it for her daughter.

Birth Colors:
Light Blue- Plenty of light blues have very normal names. Try Alice, Celeste, Maya, or Sky.
Yellow- Yellow is a bright, happy color that comes with some beautiful name choices. My favorites are Citrine, Jasmine, and Saffron.

Star Sign:
Aquarius- There are so many wonderful names for water babies. Recent favorites of mine include Harbor, Sea, and Oceane.
Pisces- The sign of Pisces is a fish, which means names like Pike or Fisher would be perfect for babies born after February 18th.

Related to February:
Valentine's Day- Valentine's Day is a great holiday for baby names. You could go classic with Valentina or Valentino, or more subtle with Freya or Querida.