Wonderful Whimsical W Names

wnamesgirls

W makes for a great initial and there are several slightly hippie, majorly delightful girls names that begin with the letter W. If whimsical nature names are your style, then you’re sure to love this list!

Waverly
Waverly has a melodic, light, easy-going tone. I think Waverly will be this Generation’s Kimberly. Waverly may remind you of the Disney show The Wizards of Waverly Place or one of the main characters in The Joy Luck Club. Waverly is an English name meaning meadow of quivering aspens. Not quite yet in the Top 1,000, Waverly was used by 224 girls and 5 boys last year.

Wednesday
Wednesday may be the bravest and most polarizing name we’re looking at today, it always makes my own guilty pleasure list. Strongly associated with the character of Wednesday Addams, Wednesday is an English name meaning Woden’s day. 50 girls were named Wednesday last year. Wednesday does lend herself to nicknames like Wendy and Winnie which are coming up on our list.

Wendy
Wendy peaked in popularity in the early 1970’s and is one of the names I’d love to see make a comeback. Today Wendy ranks at spot Number 854. As a young name-lover I remember being delighted that Wendy Moira Angela Darling, from Peter Pan, had two middle names. Wendy may have in fact been a name invented by Pan author J.M. Barrie. Wendy may also come from the Welsh Gwendolen.

Willa
Willa is a feminine form of William, meaning resolute protection. Much less common than popular “Will” names, Willa ranks at Number 463. Willa began as a nickname for Wilhelmina, which it can still of course work for, though Willa works well on her own. Willa has a wholesome, bluegrass vibe that works well on a woman of any age.

Willow
Willow may have once been a hippie-dippie name, but now this tree name is in the Top 100 ranking at spot Number 96. I can’t help but think of the 1988 film Willow and I know many fans of the show Buffy associate Willow with a main character from that series. Willow is melodic and smooth with its soft and inviting “o” ending sound.

Winnie
I love Winnie as a nickname for Ceridwen, Gwendolen, and many other beautiful Welsh names, though Winnie is quite cute all on her own. Winnie was mostly seen originally as a nickname for Winifred, meaning fair and blessed friend. Jimmy Fallon has a daughter named Winnie Rose. 233 girls were given this spunky sweet name last year.

Winter
Winter would be a lovely full name to use to get to the nickname Winnie. A lovely season name, I think Winter is also striking as a middle name. At 506 in popularity, Winter is higher up in the charts than most people realize. Winter is a main character in Marissa Meyer’s popular series the Lunar Chronicles.

Wren
Wren is a darling bird name that could easily work well on any gender. At 524 in popularity for girls, Wren could be the next generations Robin. Wren is a straight-forward, one-syllable name with a sweet nature tie. Wren is definitely a name to watch and has been popping up in several modern TV shows and novels.

Which of these wonderful, whimsical W names would you use?

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Alabama Baby Names

alabamababynames

Do you find yourself looking at place names when you travel? I recently moved to a new state and I love taking in all the potential local baby names. My love of the U.S., travel, and names has come together in this new series where I’ll be talking about some great names inspired by each state. Let’s look at some great names from the heart of Dixie inspired by the state of Alabama.

Alabama
Why not pull inspiration from the state itself? Alabama comes from a Choctaw Native American name which when broken down means plant-cutters and to clear. Celebs Travis Barker Shanna Moakler named their daughter Alabama Louella. Writer William Faulker also used Alabama for his daughter. Alabama would be a cool way to get to the nickname Ally/Allie. Only 14 girls were named Alabama last year.

Auburn
Auburn is a college town, home of Auburn University. One of Alabama’s largest cities, Auburn’s nickname is ,“The Loveliest Village On The Plains.” Auburn is also a lovely red-brown color name and lends itself easily to the nickname Aubrey. Auburn has never ranked in the US Top 1,000 and was only used by 34 girls and 6 boys last year.

Birmingham
Birmingham may be suited best as a middle name or a name reserved for a brave namer. You could get creative with nicknames like Bing or Barry for Birmingham. One of the most recognizable cities in Alabama, Birmingham is packed full of history. Birmingham comes from an Old English surname meaning homestead of the people. Birmingham is so rarely used that less than 5 babies were named Birmingham last year.

Camelllia
Camellia became the state flower of Alabama in 1927. If you like the rising name Amelia, you may enjoy Camellia. Camellia is a rarely used “Cam” name that was only given to 78 baby girls last year. Camellia is an uncommon name with lovable recognizable nicknames like Cam, Cami, Mellie, Mia, and Millie.

Cotton
Located right in the center of the Cotton belt, one of Alabama’s nicknames is fittingly “the Cotton state.” Cotton played a huge role in Alabama’s history and economy. A word name, Cotton was more popular among Puritans and early settlers. 18 baby boys were named Cotton last year. Cotton may also remind you of the folk song “Cotton-eyed-Joe” or the 2014 film Cotton.

Crimson
“Roll Tide!” The Alabama Crimson Tide refers to the 21 beloved sports teams at the University of Alabama. Crimson is a cool color name for a brilliant deep red hue. 69 girls and 44 boys were given the first name Crimson last year. A recognizable but rare name choice, Crimson could be an alternative to Scarlett which continues to rise.

Dixie
Alabama is known as the “heart of Dixie.” Dixie is a nickname for the South which is derived from the Latin word “dix” meaning ten. Dixie peaked in the late 1930s when it reached spot Number 167.  Last year 254 girls were named Dixie. When I think of Dixie I think of actor Dixie Carter who played Julia Sugarbaker on the TV show Designing Women or the musical trio The Dixie Chicks.

Harper
Writer Harper Lee who is remembered for her iconic book, To Kill A Mockingbird, was born in Monroeville, Alabama. One of Alabama’s most celebrated residents, Lee was born Nelle Harper Lee.  Harper first entered the Top 1,000 in 2004 and has quickly rose to the Number 10 spot where it has been the past two years. Harper is a English surname and occupational name for a harp player.

Montgomery
Montgomery is the Capital city of Alabama. The second largest city in Alabama, Montgomery was named after Richard Montgomery. Montgomery is a distinguished sounding Norman name meaning man power. 14 girls and 115 boys were given the first name Montgomery last year. I have a soft spot for Montgomery because of author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Rocket
Brave parents may take a page from Pharell Williams who has a son named Rocket. Alabama is known as the rocket capital of the world. Hunstville, Alabama is home of the US space and rocket center. A fun word name with equally fun nicknames like Rock or Rocky, only 23 boys were named Rocket last year.

The most popular names in Alabama last year were:

1 William (#3 in the US)
2 James (#5 in the US)
3 John (#28 in the US)
4 Mason (#4 in the US)
5 Elijah (#9 in the US)
6 Noah (#1 in the US)
7 Jackson (#17 in the US)
8 Michael (#8 in the US)
9 Liam (#2 in the US)
10 Samuel (#21 in the US)

1 Ava (#3 in the US)
2 Emma (#1 in the US)
3 Olivia (#2 in the US)
4 Elizabeth (#13 in the US)
5 Harper (#10 in the US)
6 Madison (#15 in the US)
7 Amelia (#11 in the US)
8 Caroline (#56 in the US)
9 Isabella (#5 in the US)
10 Ella (#17 in the US)

 

Mermaid Baby Names

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Mermaids are my favorite mythological creatures. In my latest YouTube video, which I’ll link at the end of this article, I talked about 10 beautiful names that would be fitting for a mermaid. Today I thought we’d explore 10 more mermaid inspired names for your aqua baby.

Aerwyna
Let’s begin with the exotic yet beautiful Aerwyna, pronounced ER-Wih-NAH. Tolkien fans will recognize this as an Elven name. Aerwyna has English roots meaning friend of the sea, the perfect meaning for a mermaid!

Ariel
How can we not talk about Ariel? The wide-eyed, red-headed Disney mermaid from Little Mermaid is perhaps one of the most recognizable mermaids. Ariel is a unisex Hebrew name meaning Lion of God. Shakespeare used the name Ariel for the spirit in his play The Tempest. Ariel currently ranks at Number 140.

Kailani
Most Hawaiian names could easily fit this category. Kailani is a beautiful exotic yet accessible choice meanings sky, heavens and sea. Kailani is currently number 754 in popularity, the most popular it has ever ranked. The nicknames Kai and Lani definitely make this name all the more appealing.

Madison
Daryl Hannah played the mermaid Madison in the 1980s film Splash. Madison has been wildly popular since and has been a Top 20 name since 1996. Currently Number 15 in popularity, Madison is actually a lot more popular when you add up the multiple spelling variations.

Muirgen
My love of mermaids and of Irish mythology come together in the name Muirgen, a Gaelic name (pronounced mur-in) meaning born of the sea. According to Irish legend, Muirgen was a woman who was transformed into a mermaid for 300 years but returned to her human form after being baptized.

Muriel
Muriel is a melodic Irish name meaning bright sea. Muriel peaked in 1922 and hasn’t been in the Top 1,000 since 1964. Muriel may remind you of the film Muriel’s Wedding or of Muriel Stacy, Anne Shirley’s beloved teacher in the Anne of Green Gables series.

Nerida
Nerida has a very familiar sound though it is quite uncommon. Nerida may have Greek roots meaning sea nymph or Australian ties meaning water lily. Both origins of Nerida make it a suitable name for a woman with fins and a watery home.

Ondine
Ondine is a stunning Latin name from the French Undine meaning wave. Ondine is the name of a mythical water spirit, a story that was adapted into the 2009 film Ondine. Sleek and mysterious Ondine is a mix of soft and bold.

Shell
Word names are all the rage and so beach-going parents may consider Shell.  A cool way to honor a Shelly, Shell has a more modern feel. Shell is also similar to author Shel Silverstein which would make a fun namesake connection.

Waverly
Waverly is one of my favorite names to say. Melodic and whimsical, Waverly has the word wave right in it, perfect for a mermaid! An English name meaning meadow of quivering aspens, I think Waverly will be the next Everly.

What are your favorite mermaid names? Hear me chat about 10 more magical mermaid names:

Incredible -ina Names

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Names that end in the letter -a often have a softer, more traditionally feminine sound. If you like names that end in the sweet -a sound, you may enjoy these ultra-feminine names that end in -ina. Many names ending in -ina have a bit of an exotic flare and lend themselves to delightful nicknames.

Audrina
I grew up with a generation of teenage girls who obsessed over V.C. Andrew’s novels, and so Audrina always reminds me of the book My Sweet Audrina. Audrina may also remind you of reality TV star Audrina Partridge. With Audrey quickly rising in popularity, Audrina, which shares the same roots, its a lovely less popular alternative at Number 738.

Celestina
Babies truly are little angels and so you may consider using Celestina, a Spanish and Italian name meaning heavenly, for your little angel. Celestina is a variant of Celeste and would work well to honor a Celeste or even a Tina. A melodic and ethereal name choice, only 22 little girls were named Celestina last year.

Evangelina
Evangelina is striking, angelic, and packed full of adorable nicknames from Angie to Evie to Lina. A Latinate variant of the Greek Evangeline, Evangelina means bearer of good news. A lovely name with a lovely meaning to bestow upon any little girl. Last year 170 girls were named Evangelina.

Georgina
Georgia has been steadily rising in popularity the past few years. Why not consider her sister Georgina? Georgina is an English feminine form of George meaning farmer and was only given to 133 girls last year. Georgina Sparks is a character in the popular Gossip Girl series.

Jamesina
If you’re obsessed with what names celebrities are using like I am, then you’ve noticed the huge trend of James for girls. James is also on the rise for boys, currently ranked at Number 5. Jamesina is not only a fun name to say, it’s also a fun form of James, meaning supplanter. Jamesina is so rare that it was given to 5 or less girls last year.

Katarina
Katarina is a stunning Czech form of Katherine meaning pure. An exotic sound yet totally usable here in the US, Katarina is a great way to honor a Kate, Kaitlin, or Katherine. You may recognize Katarina as a character name used in Dr. Who and 10 Things I Hate About You.

Marina
A poetic Latin and Shakespearean name, Marina means of the sea. If you want a name that people will recognize but isn’t overly used, then Marina fits the bill, currently ranked at Number 685. Actor Matt LeBlanc used the lovely combo Marina Pearl for his daughter.

Seraphina
A name on many namers guilty pleasure list, Seraphina has Latinate and Hebrew roots meaning fiery. A large and grand name, Seraphina could easily be shortened for Sera and of course then honor a Sara or Sarah. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Gardner helped give this name some attention when they used it for their daughter. 209 girls were named Seraphina last year.

Valentina
Truly a romantic choice, Valentina peaked in popularity last year when it reached spot Number 106. Valentina is a Latin feminine form of Valentine meaning strong and healthy. Selma Hayek chose the name Valentina Paloma for her daughter.

Wilhelmina
Wilhelmina is on the brink of shedding it’s formerly frumpy vibe. William which Wilhelmina shares its origins with has long been in the Top 10. Wilhelmina is made all the sweeter by the nicknames Mina, Willa, and Willie. 114 girls were named Wilhelmina last year.

Loving these -ina Names? Here are a few more to tickle your naming fancy:

Alexandrina
Alina
Angelina
Carina
Carolina
Christina
Emmelina
Evelina
Josephina
Justina
Katrina
Irina
Martina
Nina
Paulina
Regina
Sabrina
Thomasina
Tina
Trina
Zarina

What are your favorite names that end in -ina?

Call me Cal

callmecal

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?