Tag Archives: name article

Five Name Rules to Follow

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Last week we explored five unofficial “rules” that buzz around the baby name world that I’d gladly pass on. Name rules are made to be broken, right? Well here are a few rules I think are worth following, or at least strongly considering.

1 Initials are Important
I was recently chatting with one of my non-name-obsessed friends about names and we got onto the subject of initials. It hadn’t dawned on her that initials were a thing. Now I wouldn’t purposely put a name together to get fun initials like A.C.E. or G.E.M. but I would strongly suggest avoiding initials like R.A.T. or B.A.D. I think it’s a good policy to say and write a name out to avoid any future monogram embarrassment.

2 I want that Name!
The list of names I love is massive but not as long as the list of names I love but would never use. There are just some names that feel too cutesy or too bold for me personally. As a rule of thumb I always advise parents to select a name either they or their partner would be happy to have been named. Is it a name that would’ve fit you at 7? 47? 77? If so, you found a winner!

3 Know the Name buzz
When choosing a name I think it’s important to take into account any stigmas that may currently be attached to the name. A quick google search can help you look at any current cultural or political references to that name. I’m not saying that you can’t use a name a Kardashian used or the name of the President’s wife, but it would be good to be aware that others may assume that is where you got the name from.

4 Consider Long-term Name loves
I think that we name-nerds are always on the hunt for a new great name. It’s wonderful to discover new beauties, but don’t discount old loves. I think that you have less risk of regretting a name choice if you pick a name you’ve loved for a long time. While some of the names I loved in middle-school are flat out embarrassing, a few have stood the test of time and are still on my list.

Use a name you LOVE
When all is said and done there is no one name that everybody loves. What’s important is that you and your partner love the name. The fact that you’re here reading this now shows you care and have the best of intentions in naming. It’s hard enough for two people to agree on a name, so when you do, go with your gut and then come tell me what you choose! I love hearing name-lover’s name choices!

Happy Naming!

5 Names Rules to Ignore

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Have you been obsessing about names since you were a child naming your dolls like me? Or are you expecting and just dipping your toes into the name world waters? It seems that everyone, enthusiast or not, has an opinion about how to name a baby. I’ve read and heard unofficial “name rules” for years. Some rules, like don’t name your baby after a dictator are common sense, but here are a few rules I think are made to be broken…

1 Same letter names for siblings
I’m sure you’ve met siblings who’s names were so similar that you have to wonder how their parents managed to call for them. I went to school with siblings Stephanie and Stephan. I’m definitely not suggesting matchy-matchy sibsets nor would I recommend Duggar-sized families continue a letter theme. I do think siblings names beginning in the same letter work when the letter make a different sound. Gavin and Gabriel are easier to get tongue tied than Emma and Evelyn for example. So toss that rule aside and opt for the sound the letter makes over the letter itself.

2 Alternate Spellings
Alternate spellings are hugely controversial in the baby name world. Take it from a girl named Meagan, not Megan or Meghan or a million other variations, its ok to use an alternate spelling. In my 30-something *cough* years of life I’ve had my name misspelled but it really hasn’t been that big of a deal and people usually catch on once corrected. That said, Meagan is a legitimate, although less popular spelling of the familiar Megan. I don’t mind the alternate spelling but I’m sure glad my folks didn’t get overly creative and opts for Mahayghanne or some other created spelling.

3 Franken-Names
I’m all for alternative spellings and cautious when it comes to creative spellings, but I have to say I’m a fan of some franken-names or name-smash’s. A franken-name is the melding of two names, sometimes hyphenated to create one name. One of my favorite examples is Anastella, one part Ana, one part Stella, mix and get the lovely Anastella. It can be tricky finding of creating a name smash that isn’t obnoxiously long and doesn’t feel like it trying to hard but when you do its magic!

4 Gender Bending Names
We’ve definitely seen a rise of traditionally male names being used on little girls in recent years. A polarizing topic in the name world gender bender or unisex names are totally lovable and usable. I know of a little boy named Kelly, a male name that gained popularity for girls, but could swing back around. I grew up with a boy and a girl named Evan, both wore their names well. While some names may have more teasing potential, I think it’s fine to use a name like Avery now more popular for girls on a boy.

5 A Name that’s taken
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if a name was usable because it had been used by the expecting couples boss, friend, sibling, etc. So this one is tricky and doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, the key is to consider the relationship. Did your co-worker name her son Riordan? Is Riordan your Mother’s maiden name, a name you and your partner agree on and have loved for ages? Use it! No one can call “dibs” on a name. Do consider if your kids will be raised together. If your sister lives next door and names her daughter Finley it may be one you have to forgo. Then again you could always use Finley as a middle name and share a cute cousin connection.

Keep in mind that most people will have an unwarranted opinions about your child’s name but at the end of the day what matters most is how happy you are with your choice. These broken rules are just my opinion, I’d love to hear your opinions in the comment section. Happy Naming!

Alabama Baby Names

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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)