About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. On the subject of Bowen: my husband and I considered it as a middle name if our daughter had been a boy. Not because it’s catchy, rhymes with “Owen”, or has the pseudo-soap star nickname “Bo”. In fact, these were the reasons we eventually took it off the list. However, we got engaged on the amazingly beautiful Bowen Island, BC, so it has slightly different connotations for us. Also, just to point out, it’s not a “modern American coinage” – it’s an Anglicization of ap Owen, from the Welsh for “Son of Owen”.

    1. Right you are, punkprincessphd. Thank you for the note. There’s also actress Julie Bowen, from Modern Family, so doubtless it is pretty familiar in the US.

      I always wonder about this: is it a made-up name if you make it up, or is it only a made-up name if it has absolutely no prior history of use? I often find that there’s tons of information on a name that, at first glance, seems grafted together.

      I know two couples seriously considering family surnames for their daughters. In one case, it looks like a creative respelling of a trendy name. In another, it is the standard spelling, but the name was super-popular in the 1990s. Either way, I think meaning trumps all for both of them, but I’ve heard parents back away from names in similar situations, too.

      Would you consider Bowen if you had a son in the future?

  2. I haven’t watched this show, but I admit to watching a lot of other low-brow fare 🙂 About the name they chose, I love Asher but I really, really dislike Bowen. And if you say them fast together, Bowen Asher sounds an awful lot like bow and arrow. Yuck.

  3. I cam in toward the end, when they were revealing the nursery for the baby later-to-be-named Fox. Oh, gosh. This show is hysterical! Or maybe just the Jacobs family is hysterical. Um, a focus group? Really? I liked all of the names they brought to the focus group: Miles, Holden, and Asher. So, Miles is too popular. Yet these parents have an Ella. And, Asher sounds pretentious or something, is what the dinner party said? Weird. I forgot the Holden arguments, but I didn’t agree at all. I adore Holden! Oh, maybe they said it would be a hard name to handle because of the character. That character is ah-mazing! Then momma throws out Bowen (Bo), Bodhi, and Tucker. And Tucker reminds people of hemorrhoid pads! What?! If I recall, the dinner party pretty much agreed on Asher – even though they wouldn’t want to date one or basically even know one, it seemed – and one lady voted Bodhi. I’m glad mom and pops went with Bowen Asher because they seemed to really like it. Ella, Ruby, and Bowen is fine. If it were me, I would have thrown out Milo as the baby’s name. Ella, Ruby, and Milo.

    Now, my Mountaineers, you must see this article! This couple (Herman and Candelaria) travel the world. They’ve had four children while on the road, each born in a separate country. If Candelaria didn’t already tip you off, this couple is bold. Their children are Pampa (B), Tehue (B), Paloma (G), and – wait for it – Wallaby (B)! He was born in Australia. Of course. It’s really quite remarkable:


    1. Now, there’s a couple that knows how to live out their dreams!

      As for the names…well, I love it when parents are bold, even if they’re not bold in the same way I would be. Paloma’s one of my favorites, though.

    2. Have to comment because my 3-month-old is Wallace, and we affectionately call him Wallaby! Also Walnut. 🙂 I hadn’t realized before he was born how many fun nicknames we were going to get out of Wallace.

      1. Now, see, Wallaby is an adorable nickname for Wallace. As is Walnut. But, Wallaby as a name? How is that child ever going to be taken seriously? I guess he could go by Wally or something…

        Pampa just kills me. I thought it was a girl’s name at first, to be honest, and it reminds me of Pampers. Diapers! Yikes. Tehue I don’t quite know how to pronounce, but I take it to be a mix of “tissue” and “achoo.” But, Paloma is so very lovely. And Zapp is a really cool last name.

        (I have a theory that Zapp- last names must bring out the crazy namer in people. This family and the Zappa family are competing head-to-head in the strange name category in my mind.)

    3. Wow! And again, wow! Thanks so much for the link.

      But on the list of things that are different about their kids’ experiences, I’m going to say that being named Wallaby is pretty far down the list.

  4. Ah, this sounds like a train-wreck of a show that is right up my alley! I do like me some low-brow entertainment. (Bravo is only slightly behind the total lobotomy channel in production of such TV.) I will have to check it out.

    I’ll say the names do sound rather ho-hum for the amount of effort it sounds like they put into them, but I’m not surprised that you get ho-hum when you go for a group-sourced/approved type of name. That said, I personally do like Ella and Ruby just fine and I really like Asher, but Bowen is just not at all appealing. Also, it feels a bit like it doesn’t fit with their girls in style (Theo and Milo would both get votes from me long before Bowen). Congrats to Elisabeth for what sounds like an interesting ride and quite a gig!

  5. Oh my. This show sounds like a nightmare but I may just have to tune in. Ella and Ruby are sweet but I agree that anyone could have come up with those names with our without a focus group or even a baby name book. Bowen Asher takes me back to Blane from Pretty in Pink. It does not exude class but it does try really hard to convey the fact that the little bundle of joy comes from money.

  6. Thanks for the mention, Abby!

    It’s killing me that I can’t talk in depth about the experience of being on the show, but I LOVE seeing all the names you would have chosen.

    Also, how ironic is it that I’m on a “brain trust” panel to help this couple choose a name that is easy to spell, and they spell my name wrong? Sigh, you can’t win ’em all.

    Elisabeth Wilborn, Baby Name Blogger for Pregnant in Heels

  7. My thoughts exactly! Hundreds of dollars spent on the names and the come up with Ella, Ruby and Bowen? They could of spent a few hours on a Babycenter and come up with the same names.

    (Based on their desire for a name of “thought leader”? I would of suggested Leon, Martin or Theo.)

    1. I think people like that spend money in order to show people that they can afford to spend money. This show sounds like a commercial for what is wrong here in the US. Pardon me while I sit back and never watch it.

  8. I thought the same thing about Ella’s name. They read through 12,000 names and landed on Ella. I thought people only did that to find an unique/unpopular name.

    I’m not a fan of Bowen, but its been popping up lately and fits in with the popular -en ending, but I was glad that they picked their favorite, because their baby, their choice. No matter what.

    I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of reality tv, but this one was kind of enjoyable and way over the top so I’ll probably watch next week too. 🙂

  9. Bowen Asher was the pick, or did I get that wrong? I actually find Asher pretty classy, at least in sound. But Bowen just makes me think “bow legged”. Really.

    Foxis neat, but makes me think of my 6th grade teacher (Ms. Fox) and then of the flea ridden, mangy creatures I see at the Jersey shore. Not very pretty, but sound-wise,I approve. Fox has the same short, sharp sound our top pick for a boy has (ours is Rex).
    I probably won’t be watching this series either. *sigh* I don’t know what it is about television these days, there’s absolutely nothing on that I’d ever watch! Movies are it for me. And the ‘net. 😀

    1. It’s called Pregnant in Heels and yes, its about pregnant ladies in NYC. Elisabeth was part of the “Think Tank” that Rosie Pope put together to help come up with the perfect baby name.