Call me Cal

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Cal has always had a bit of a sporty sound to me probably because I associate it with baseball player Cal Ripkin Jr. Cal originated as a nickname for Calvin, which is Ripkin’s given name, but can be used for a whole slew of delightful names. Check out these 10 wonderful “Cal” names!

Caledon
I first heard the name Caldeon used on Billy Zane’s character in the epic film Titanic. Caledon is a striking underused name that fits in well with many -n ending male names. Caledon is mostly likely a variation of the place name Caledonia. Less than 5 babies were named Caledon last year.

Calfuray
I really enjoy Native American names and Calfuray is a stunning Mapuche name meaning violet flower. Traditionally a feminine name, Calfuray pronounced kal-foo-RAW-ee, could work on either sex. Less than 5 babies were named Calfuray last year.

Calhoun
Calhoun is an Irish surname packed full of charm. A fun name to say, Calhoun has a bit of a cowboy-vibe. Another cool thing about Calhoun is that it means from the forest. Only 8 boys were named Calhoun last year.

Calix
Calix is one of those names I think more people would use if they knew about it. A cool way to honor an Alex or get that modern -x ending. Calix comes from a Latin name meaning chalice. Only 26 baby boys were named Calix last year.

Callahan
Callahan is one of the many handsome Cal- surnames that makes for a usable yet uncommon first name. Also spelled Callaghan, this is a name with Irish roots meaning bright-headed. There were only 113 boys named Callahan and 10 boys named Callaghan last year.

Callan
If you find yourself drawn to two-syllable boys names that end in -n like Aiden, Ethan, or Mason, you may also consider Callan. A soft but handsome Gaelic name slowly rising in the charts, Callan means rock or battle. Callan currently ranks at Number 730 in popularity.

Calloway
Calloway is yet another charming Irish surname that makes for a delightful first name meaning pebbly place. Calloway has a melodic and mysterious vibe. 21 boys and 6 girls were named Calloway last year.

Callum
My fellow baby name lover and friend Rebe (youtube.com/rebesharpe) has a sweet little boy named Callum Donovan. If you love names with animal meanings you’ll definitely love that Callum, which comes from Scottish roots, means dove. Callum is currently Number 701 in popularity.

Calvert
Braver namers may enjoy the sophisticated and rare English name Calvert, meaning calf herder. Calvert is a great Albert alternative and of course comes with the usable nickname Cal. 6 baby boys were given the first name Calvert last year.

Calvin
Let’s not overlook Calvin, the first name most people will think of when they hear the nickname “Cal.” Calvin is a Latin name meaning bald, which is a pretty fun meaning for a newborn. We’re seeing more and more little Calvin’s as it ranks at Number 148.

There’s also Calder, Caldwell, Cale, Caleb , and Pascal that have the letters Cal in them though they offer a different sound.

What’s your favorite Cal name?

The Top Names of 2016

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It’s here! It’s here! The United States Social Security Administration just released their most current data giving us a new list of popular baby names.  Let’s look over the new Top Baby Names!

Girls

1 Emma
2 Olivia
3 Ava + up one spot from last year
4 Sophia – down one spot from last year
5 Isabella
6 Mia
7 Charlotte + up two spots from last year
8 Abigail – down one spot from last year
9 Emily – down one spot from last year
10 Harper

Boys

1 Noah
2 Liam
3 William + up one spot from last year
4 Mason – down one spot from last year
5 James + up two spots from last year
6 Benjamin + up four spots from last year
7 Jacob – down three spots from last year
8 Michael + up one spot from last year
9 Elijah + up two spots from last year
10 Ethan – down four spots from last year

Elijah is new to the Top 10 and Alexander has fallen out of the Top 10.

Do you know any babies born last year with these names? What are your personal favorites?

Posh Names for your Princess

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These feminine names age well and have a distinctly upper-crust vibe. Consider one of these 10 sophisticated choices for your little lady.

Bianca
Bianca is one of the many Shakespearean character names that easily fits in to this category. An Italian name meaning white, Bianca has a much more refined sound than her sister Blanche. Currently ranked at 379, Disney fans will love the connection to the prim little mouse Bianca in The Rescuers.

Claudia
A common name in ancient Rome, Claudia still feels sophisticated and current at Number 741 in popularity. Fashion model Claudia Schiffer and the eternally young vampire Claudia from Interview with a Vampire are two well-known bearers of this name. You could also kick up the posh level a bit by using the name Claudine.

Francesca
It doesn’t get much more posh or Princess-worthy than the grand name Francesca. A flowery Italian form of Frances, meaning french man or free man, Francesca currently ranks at Number 428. Nickname lovers will delight in the numerous nickname options including; CeCe, Fanny, Fran, Francie, Frankie, and Franny.

Georgiana
Jane Austen fans will instantly recognize this as the name of Mr. Darcy’s sister in Pride and Prejudice. Georgiana is one of the many attractive feminine forms of George meaning farmer. Whether you pronounce it gor-gee-AH-na or gor-JAY-na its simply magnificent.

Lavinia
A great alternative to the much more popular Olivia, Lavinia was only used by 63 little girls last year. A fun way to get to Liv or Livie, Lavinia is a Latin name meaning from the ancient Lavinium. There were characters named Lavinia in A Little Princess and Downtown Abbey.

Margot
We could easily fill this list with lovely posh French names for girls. Margot is a french form of Margaret meaning pearl. At 593 in popularity Margot is on the rise, up nearly 150 spots last year. Margaux Hemingway changed the spelling of her name from Margot to Margaux after learning Margaux was the name of the wine her parents consumed the night of her conception.

Natasha
There is something exotic, alluring, and appealing about the name Natasha. A Russian diminutive of Natalya, meaning born of Christmas, Natasha currently ranks at Number 666. Barack and Michelle Obama named one of their daughters Natasha, though she goes primarily by the nickname Sasha.

Octavia
Another great Olivia alternative, Octavia is a striking Latin name meaning eighth. Oscar winning actor Octavia Spencer helped bring attention to this Victorian name. Only 173 baby girls were named Octavia last year.

Portia
Portia has an super sophisticated sound though it derives from a Roman family name meaning pig or hog. Perhaps the Porsche car association is too strong since only 42 babies were named Portia last year. Actress Portia de Rossi, born Amanda, chose the prim Portia in renaming herself.

Sophie
Sophie is sweet and chic French form of Sophia, meaning wisdom. A very wearable name, currently ranked at Number 104, Sophie is in the Top 3 in Austria, Ireland, The Netherlands, and Scotland.

Which of these posh names would you use?

Dapper Names for your little Dude

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There is something quite entertaining about a little boy with a distinguished sounding name. These 10 dapper boys names have an old world charm and feel sophisticated without being too stuffy.

Clive
It doesn’t get more dapper than Clive, an English name that oozes with finesse. Actor Clive Owen has made this straight-laced name feel very usable. Clive is a rare choice in the US and was only used by 82 baby boys last year.

Felix
Felix has Latin roots and means happy or fortunate, both great meanings to bestow on your bundle of joy.  Once closesly associated with the character Felix the Cat, Felix has both a vintage vibe and a modern X ending. Felix currently ranks and Number 262.

Everett
A personal favorite of mine, at Number 135 Everett is quickly rising in popularity. The crisp T ending partnered with the adorable nicknames Ever or Rhett have given this name a boost. Everett is derived from a German name meaning brave as a boar.

Hugh
My fellow name enthusiast and friend Alena J Ingle has a darling little boy named Hugh Clinton (https://www.instagram.com/hughclinton2014/). There are several notable actors with this name from Hugh Jackman to Hugh Grant to Hugh Laurie.  Hugh comes from a German name meaning intellect.  Hugh currently ranks at Number 849, a lot lower than its brother Hugo at 432.

Miles
Jazz musician Miles Davis is a great association to this elegant name choice. Miles peaked last year at 107 in popularity. An English form of the name Milo, several celebrities including Eddie Murphy, Mayim Bialik, and Susan Sarandon have used Miles for their sons.

Quentin
Originally used for the fifth born child, Quentin is a Latin name that fittingly means fifth. There are very few cool names that begin with the quirky letter Q and can sound polished at the same time. Quentin may remind you of John Green’s character Quentin “Q” Jacobsen or director Quentin Tarantino. Quentin ranks at Number 483.

Rupert
A stylish name that is more utilized across the pond than here in the US where it was only given to 22 boys last year. Rupert is a German form of the name Robert meaning bright fame. Actors Rupert Everett, Rupert Graves, and Rupert Grint are three household namesakes.

Sebastian
At 35 in popularity Sebastian is one of those names that people don’t often realize is as popular as it is.  Latin from a Greek name Sebastian means from Sebastia. Sebastian has a masculine and accomplished ring to it and lends itself to fun nicknames like Bas, Bash, Bastian, Baz, Seb, and Sebs.

Theodore
Theodore is another classic name on the rise, currently ranked at Number 99. A Greek name meaning gift of God, Theodore was most popular in 1901 when Theodore Roosevelt began his term.  Tad, Ted, Teddy, and Theo are just a few of its likable nicknames.

Walter
Polished and noble, Walter is a German name meaning army ruler that ranks at Number 308.  Walt Disney (born Walter “Walt” Elias Disney), Walter “Walt” Whitman, and Walter Cronkite are three bearers of this distiniguished name.

If you like these names, you might also love some of these dashing choices:

20 Great -by Baby Names

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There’s something sweet and approachable about names that end in –by.  Here are 20  and great choices for your little baBY.

Abby
Current Ranking: 437 for girls
A common nickname for Abigail, Abby would also be a great nickname for Abilene or even Tabitha
Cool Connection: Sesame Street character Abby Cadabby

Ashby
Current Ranking: Only used by 23 girls and 17 boys last year
Could Ashby the next Ashley? Ashby has a super sweet Southern sound.
Cool Connection:  TV host Nancy O’Dell has a daughter named Ashby Grace

Barnaby
Current Ranking: Less than 5 boys were used Barnaby last year
A posh beginning with a sweet ending.  Barnaby is derived from the name Barnabas.
Cool Connection: Barnaby Bear is an animated and live action character in several UK TV series

Colby
Current Ranking: 454 for boys
A surname, a place name, and the name of a cheese.
Cool Connection: Survivor runner-up Colby Donaldson

Crosby
Current Ranking: 575 for boys
People really took notice of this name following the success of the show Parenthood
Cool Connection: Folk rock group Crosby, Stills, and Nash

Darby
Current Ranking: Only used by 110 girls and 27 boys last year
Fairly common boys name in Ireland, Darby will forever remind me of the film Darby O’Gill and the Little People.
Cool Connection: Actor Paul Rudd has a daughter named Darby

Gatsby
Current Ranking: Only used by 12 boys and 5 girls last year
Literary parents will recognize this name from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Cool Connection: The character Jay Gatsby was actually born James “Jimmy” Gatz

Jacoby
Current Ranking: 655 for boys
A little bit Jacob and a little bit Coby, a fun name with lots of charm!
Cool Connection: Boston Red Sox player Jacoby Ellsury

Kelby
Current Ranking: Only used by 41 boys and 23 girls last year
If Kelly and Shelby had a baby you’d get the surname Kelby!
Cool Connection: Kelby has British, Tutonic, German and possibly Norse roots.

Kirby
Current Ranking: Only used by 53 boys and 27 girls last year
A sporty sounding unisex surname
Cool Connection: John Wayne played 5 characters named Kirby in his acting career with

Libby
Current Ranking: 995 for girls
Originally a nickname for Elizabeth, Libby would also be a darling nickname for Liberty
Cool Connection: Carly Simon has a song called Libby

Moby
Current Ranking: Less than 5 babies were named Moby last year
This could make for a fun nickname. Most folks are sure to associate it with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Cool Connection: Musician Moby was born Richard Melville Hall and got his stage name/nickname due to his ancestor, Herman Melville.

Quimby
Current Ranking: Less than 5 babies were named Quimby last year
A quirky cute Q name
Cool Connection: Beverly Cleary character Ramona Quimby

Rigby
Current Ranking: Only used by 31 boys last year
Beatles fans are sure to recognize this name from the song Eleanor Rigby
Cool Connection: USA Gymnastic Gold medalist Cathy Rigby

Ruby
Current Ranking: 83 for girls
A beautiful red gemstone name on the rise
Cool Connection: Ruby Bridges, Activist and first African American child to desegregate a Louisiana school in 1960

Selby
Current Ranking: Only used by 9 girls last year
In the Shelby and Sylvie family, Selby has a posh and fresh sound
Cool Connection: Edgy photographer Todd Selby

Shelby
Current Ranking: 299 for girls
Shelby screams super sweet southern belle
Cool Connection: Julia Robert’s character in the tear-jerking comedy Steel Magnolias

Tibby
Current Ranking: Less than 5 babies were named Tibby last year
Tibby originated as a nickname for Elizabeth, though it also works well as a nickname for Tabitha
Cool Connection: Tabitha “Tibby” is a character in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series

Toby
Current Ranking: 689 for boys
First used as a nickname for Tobias, Toby now stands alone as a full name
Cool Connection: Actor Tobey Maguire

Willoughby
Current Ranking: Only used by 6 boys last year
A great way to get to Will or honor a Will
Cool Connection: Jane Austen character John Willoughby

What are your favorite -by Baby names?

Hear about 10 of these names here:

Names from Red Queen

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I just finished reading Red Queen, a young adult fantasy novel by Victoria Aveyard.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel without falling in love with at least one of the names in it.  Check out this eclectic list of character names from Aveyard’s Dystopian world.

Cal
Tiberias “Cal” Calore VII, the eldest prince and the heir to the thrown
Cal is a diminutive name, usually seen as a nickname to Calvin.  In this case because he is a junior, character Cal pulls his nickname from his surname.  A few Cal names I enjoy include Caledon, Callahan, Calix, and Callum. 143 little boys were given the first name Cal last year.

Elara
Elara Merandusm, the Queen of Norta
Love her or love to hate her, this dynamic character has a lovely melodic name. In Greek mythology Elara was a mortal Princess, Zeus’ lover, and the mother of the giant Tityos.  Elara would be a lovely Laura alternative.  32 baby girls were named Elara last year.

Evangeline
Evangeline Samos, Cal’s fiancée
Evangeline is an elegant Greek name meaning good news.  Currently ranked at Number 261 in popularity, Evangeline lends itself to dozens of lovely nicknames from Eva to Evie to Angie.  Evangeline was also a character name in the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Farley
Diana Farley, captain of the Scarlet Guard
Farley is an Old English surname meaning sheep meadow or clearing.  Farley may remind you of author Farley Mowat or comedian Chris Farley.  Farley is so rare as a first name that it was used by less than 5 babies last year.

Gisa
Gisa Barrow, Mare’s younger sister
Gisa, pronounced GEE-zah, is a German diminutive of the French name Giselle, meaning hostage or pledge.  Though Gisa has a familiar look to it, it is very rare here in the US and was used by less than 5 girls last year.

Julian
Julian Jacos, Cal’s uncle and a royal librarian
Julian is an English form of the Latin name Julius meaning youthful and downy. Julian is one of the many beloved “Jul” names, currently ranked at Number 45 in popularity. Julian was the name of an Apostate, a Roman emperor, and several saints.

Kilorn
Kilorn Warren, Mare’s best friend
Kilorn was one of the stand-out names for me in this novel.  I’d never heard of Kilorn before though it does have a similar feel to Cillian, which I adore. Rarely used as a surname, there’s very little data or information on this cool character name.

Lucas
Lucas Samos, Mare’s guard
Lucas is a Latin form of Luke meaning man from Luciana. Lucas obviously easily lends itself to name Luke, both which are rising in popularity.  Lucas peaked in popularity last year at spot Number 16.

Mare
Mare Barrow, our protagonist who also goes by the alias Mareena Titanos
Mare is a simple, sweet, one-syllable name. Mare is a diminutive of names like Mary or Maria and may also be an Irish form of Mary. Mare was used by less than 5 girls last year.

Maven
Maven Calore, the second eldest prince
Maven is an anglicized form of the Irish name Meidhbhin, meaning intoxicating. Maven may also come from a Hebrew word meaning one who understands.  Maven definitely resembles many popular names in its sound. 14 boys and 44 girls were named Maven last year.

Ptolemus
Ptolemus Samos, is Evangeline’s brother
The name Ptolemus will probably remind you of Ptolemy or Ptolemaios, a Greek name meaning warlike.  Though the meaning of this name matches the character, it’s quite rare and was used by less than 5 babies last year.

Rane
Rane Arven, a Silver instructor
Rane may be a variation of Rain or Raine.  Rane may also be an Old Swedish form of the name Hrani meaning rough or brutal.  This rare spelling was used by less than 5 babies last year.

Sara
Sara Skonos, a healer and Julian’s friend
Sara is a variation of the Hebrew name Sarah meaning princess. Sara/Sarah was quite popularity throughout the 1980s and 90s.  Today Sara is still well loved and used at 162 in popularity.

Shade
Shade Barrow, Mare’s older brother
Shade is a cool word name that sounds like it should be a modern celebrity baby name.  “Throwing shade” or “being shady” are the downsides to this otherwise smooth sounding name. 22 boys and 5 girls were named Shade last year.

Tiberias
Tiberias Calore VI, the King of Norta
Tiberias may be a variant of Tiberius, a Latin name meaning of the Tiber River. Tiberias is the name of an Israeli city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Tiberias was used by less than 5 boys last year, but Tiberius was given to 109 boys.

Tristan
Tristan, a member of the Scarlet Guard
Tristan is a Celtic name meaning sorrowful or sad, but its meaning hasn’t detoured parents from using it, Tristan is currently ranked at Number 101.

What are you favorite names from this novel?

Lightly Vintage Girls Names

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Love the feel of a vintage name but don’t want your little girl to sound like a stuffy old lady? Lose the frump but keep the charm with 20 these lightly vintage names that would suit a beautiful baby born today.

Ada
If you love Ava, which has been a Top 10 name for the past 10 years, you may like the similar sounding Ada.  Currently ranked at Number 357, Ada comes from the German name Adelaide meaning noble. Simple, strong, and sweet, Ada also gets cool points for being a palindrome name.

Bonnie
Bonnie is a wholesome Scottish name meaning beautiful. Currently ranked at Number 871, Bonnie peaked in the late 1940s after the release of Gone with the Wind in which Bonnie was the nickname of Scarlett and Rhett’s sweet little girl.

Cora
Cora is just one of the lovely vintage names that Downtown Abbey helped revitalize.Cora is derived from a Greek name meaning maiden. Currently at spot Number 88, Cora hasn’t been this popular since 1910.

Della
Della ends in the same lovely sound as sisters Isabella and Gabriella, though it is not nearly as popular.  A diminutive of the German name Adela, Della means noble. Only 213 girls were named Della last year.

Estelle
Estelle is a French name meaning star, and what little girl wouldn’t love that meaning? Currently ranked at Number 823, Estelle lends its self to the sweet old-timey nicknames Essie and Estee.

Etta
Fans of musician Etta James, who was born Jamesetta, may enjoy this sweet vintage name. Etta began as a diminutive of the name Henrietta meaning estate ruler. A great Ella or Emma alternative, Etta was only given to 242 little girls last year.

Flora
Flora is a Latin name meaning flower that has been getting more recognition in recent years. Still less common than its sisters Cora and Nora, Flora was only used by 173 girls last year. Flora peaked in 1902 when it reached Number 100.

Hattie
A diminutive of Harriet, meaning estate ruler, Hattie is an old-timey name that’s undergone a huge revival. Currently Number 488, Hattie hasn’t been this popular since the late 1950s and now outranks Harriet.

Iris
If you want a less frilly flower name, you may consider Iris. Iris is a Greek name meaning rainbow currently ranked at Number 217. In Greek mythology Iris was the goddess of the rainbow. Iris may also refer to the colored part of the eye.

June
June is a month name derived from the Roman goddess Juno. June is rising in the charts, currently ranked at Number 280, it hasn’t been this popular since 1966. Other attractive June names include Junia, Juniper, and Juno.

Lavinia
Lavinia is one of my favorite Olivia alternatives. A Latin name meaning from Lavinium, Lavinia is packed full of Victorian charm and hasn’t been in the Top 1,000 since 1929. Lavinia was only given to 63 baby girls last year.

Mabel
Mabel was the then rare name that Paul and Jamie gave their daughter in the 1990s sitcom Mad About You. Derived from the named Amabel, meaning loveable, Mabel is now ranked at Number 578, the highest it has ranked since the early 1950s.

Ottilie
If you love the sound of Natalie but are more drawn to rare vintage names then Ottilie is the name for you. Pronounced o-TEE-lee or ot-till-ee, Ottilie comes from the name Odilia meaning fortune. Ottilie is so rare that it was only given to 12 girls last year.

Pearl
The gemstone of June, Pearl is a granny-chic name making quite the comeback. Pearl ranked at 628 for the past two years, the highest it has been since the mid-1960s.  Pearl is a name I’m seeing more and more as a middle name as well.

Poppy
Poppy is the name of the sweet, cheery, red little flower. Poppy has never ranked in the US Top 1,000 and is definitely more used across the pond in the UK. Last year Poppy was used here by 257 little girls.

Sylvie
Sylvie is a sweet French variation of Silvia, meaning of the forest. Sylvie has a chic yet friendly air to it. Never before ranked in the Top 1,000, Sylvie was only given to 212 girls last year. Sylvie would also be a nice alternative to Sophie.

Rosalie
Whether or not you’re a fan of the Twilight saga, there sure were some beautiful names in the series, including Rosalie. A French form of Rosalia, meaning rose, Rosalie currently ranks at Number 266, the highest it has been since the early 1950s.

Tillie
Tillie is a cutesy little name that began as a nickname for Matilda meaning strength in battle. Vintage nicknames like Millie, Tillie, and Winnie do stand alone well as given names. 70 little girls were given the first name Tillie last year.

Vera
Vera has a very posh sound perhaps because of the elegant designer namesake Vera Wang. Vera is a Russian name meaning faith or true that ranks at Number 312. Vera peaked in 1919 when it reached Number 65.

Willa
If you’re looking for a Willow alternative or a way to honor a William than you may love the name Willa. Willa is a feminine form of William meaning resolute protection. Currently ranked at 481, Willa hasn’t been this popular in over 60 years.

What lightly vintage girls names do you love?

You can hear me chat about a few of these names here: