Clio + Aly, February 2011

I took the kids to get their hair cut at our local Cartoon Cuts, which isn’t local at all – it requires a drive on the Beltway to Rockville Pike. While the kids were being coiffed, I flipped through a rack of personalized hair barrettes. The selection included the predictable Emma and Elizabeth, but also some out-there picks like Ayriel, Divany, and Darlene. Ariel has been in the Top 100 as recently as 1992, so okay. But Ayriel? Are there faithful salon customers with those names who buy a set every six weeks?

It was a good week for unusual name spotting. Over on the Facebook page, I mentioned seeing a boy called Sovereignty in the local media, and Sarah spotted a bride-to-be on Say Yes to the Dress called Duvae. Get this: the parents chose it so she “would be a comfort in their lives.” Hokay.

Beyond Sovereignty and Duvae, there’s been another round of chatter about unusual names – are they over in Hollywood, are they anything new, and so on. I’ll round up a few of the articles at Nameberry tomorrow.

In the meantime:

  • Aussie notables Simon Marshall and Sally Burke have named their daughter Shugar. The parents say that Shugar’s name “could be a world first for all that we know.” Shugar certainly isn’t likely to catch on any time soon, but I found more than a dozen people called Shugar in the 1880 US Census. At least one of them was a he!
  • Here’s an unusual name that could stand out in all the right ways – Orchid, as profiled at Bewitching Baby Names. There’s a hint of the “Lily was taken, so we looked elsewhere in the garden” about Orchid, but she’s an intriguing choice anyhow. Just don’t focus too much on her Greek origins;
  • For Real spotted a birth announcement for Paul Wager. Is Wager a family name, or is it the new Chance?
  • In Arizona, For Real spotted a girl named Calexia Lavae Marie and a Johntavia Dashey;
  • I love these lists so much I’m imagining mash-ups between Windy City Baby Names and Geek Baby Names: Linus Comiskey and Waldo Caray, anyone?
  • Nancy asks what you would name an 11-11-11 baby? Dearest’s suggestion of Ellevine – a traditional Norweigan name for the eleventh child – is my favorite, but there was no shortage of clever: C in DC’s Prime, Julie’s Undine, Nikki’s names with the initials XI, as in Xandria Isabel;
  • There’s a birth announcement for a little Juniper over at Swistle, but I’m fascinated by some of the other choices they considered for a daughter: Albany, Winslet, Ottilie, Hermione;
  • Back in 2009, I wrote about Angus. And in 2010, it was Sasha;
  • Coming up this week: Lovett, Antoinette, Elsinore, Albert, and Flint.

Amongst the fashionable and famous:

  • Two Top Chef families expanded this week: Richard Blais and wife Jazmin welcomed daughter Embry Lotus, who joins big sister Riley Maddox, and Tania Peterson’s new daughter Zuzu Audrey, the first child for Tania and husband Phil;
  • Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni welcomed a son, Max Ellington;
  • And we think we know the name of Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz’ son: Leo.

One more thing: from time to time, I have a question about the site’s direction, and it would be really helpful to get readers’ opinions before I make a decision and put anything live here. So I’m forming a tiny little AppMtn Advisory Board. (Dare I call you the Mounties?) If you’re willing to get a VERY occasional email from me, please let me know by sending me a message at appmtn (at) gmail (dot) com. I truly value your feedback, and it would be fun to get it before I try new things every once in a while. It doesn’t matter if you’re a diehard lurker, occasional visitor, or regular commenter – just drop me a line, and you’re in the club!

That’s all for this week. As always, thanks for reading, and have a great week!

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. Swistle mentioned Winslet a while back … I wonder if that’s where they got the idea? It’s pretty, and I can see parents loving Winnie but not Winifred. And all those ends-in-et names: Violet, Bridget – are big. So, maybe not completely outlandish, but definitely surprising!

  1. Abby, your kids are so cute! Thanks for sharing that photograph with us.

    Onto names: Wow, words cannot express my emotions when I read about Duvae. I guess it does have a rather pleasant sound, but still!

    Speaking of pleasant sounds, I have always thought that orchid is one of the ugliest words used in the English language (I feel somewhat similarly about orchard). I can’t personally imagine bestowing the name on any child, male or female. Knowing more about the flower’s history — etymological and otherwise — has not made the pretty plant’s name any more appealing.

    1. Agreed, orchid is utter bollocks. I agree about the unpleasant sound.

      And Shugar? I am unable to process this. I don’t think I want to.

    2. Ah, but the plants? They are lovely.

      As Sarah said it, at least she wasn’t named Blanket.

  2. Shugar! I instantly thought of Marilyn Monroe; her character in Some Like it Hot – the adorable, unlucky-in-love ukelele player – was named Sugar. Granted, most people won’t think of Monroe when they hear that name but it’s still a sweet (I couldn’t resist) moniker.

    And oh! I saw that episode of Say Yes to the Dress. I was startled when I heard her name, too – I’m sure she’s gotten that all her life – but I have to say, she was so beautiful (and seemed super nice to boot) that she actually made it work.

    1. Joanna, that’s a great point! Was it supposed to be her real name? I haven’t seen it in years. Adding to Netflix queue …

      Anyone who can appear truly nice on reality TV is probably a saint in real life! Wonder what she’ll name her kids?

      1. Oh it’s such a wonderful film; we saw it last month and just fell in love with it all over again. I believe her character’s name really WAS Sugar! Our friends at IMDB list it as “Sugar Kane Kowalczyk.” The “Kane” gives it that extra something. ;o)

        Definitely, the bride-to-be was really classy and seemed very…normal, which, with a name like that, is quite a feat. Oh I know, I wonder if she’ll choose names from the top 20, a la Emily or Jacob. Or maybe there’s a little Coverlette in her future.

  3. Oh my gosh, I can’t stop laughing at Duvae! So she’ll be a comfort in their lives??? Hahahaha. Poor kid. And Johntavia Dashey? Calexia blah blah blah? How do people come up with this stuff? It never ceases to amaze.

    In a million years I would never guess Riley Maddox was a girl. Blah. But the more I think about Zuzu Audrey the more I like it. It’s making me consider Zuzu for myself actually, but as a nickname. Any thoughts on Zuzu vs Lulu?

    1. Would you all think I was a total moron if I totally didn’t get the “she’ll be a comfort” thing with Duvae for about five minutes? I was saying it like Dubai, not duvet! Wow.

      Thoughts on Zuzu versus Lulu – Lulu is sweet, vintage, and perky, whereas Zuzu is vivacious, exuberant, and sassy. Zuzu would be cute for Susannah or Zuzana; Lulu would be cute for Louisa, Luella, or Tallulah.

    2. Oh, Zuzu’s snappy & sweet, Lulu’s spunky & cute. It’s a tough decision & one I waver over almost daily: Susanna, nn Zuzu or Lucretia, nn Lulu. I think, if pushed, I’d go with Lulu over Zuzu. Only because it’s a cute nickname for (in my case) an odd duck of a name which would please my other half more. But sweet Susanna, nn Zuzu would be adorable on another kid (like Yours)! 🙂

  4. Clio & Aly are adorable! Love those smiles. 🙂

    Zuzu Audrey is kind of cute, a little interesting and may just age well on it’s own.
    If Penelope Cruz really has a Leo, kudoes to her. Leo’s a fabulous name, strong, handsome, and easy to both read & write. Of course, having a Leo myself may bias me a tad. 🙂
    I refuse to say anything about those personalised barrettes except that when I got a pair for Josephine a few years ago, the lady commented on what a long name it was. (good thing it was just her first name and not the whole thing, hmm?

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

    1. Haha, I can’t believe someone made a comment like that (I bet she said it all judgemental, too, right?). Josephine has the same number of letters and less syllables than Elizabeth!

      1. Indeed, she was! I’ve never been back to that store, either. It’s funny that you mentioned Elizabeth as a comparison, Josie’s class this year is like the mecca ffor long named girls. Besides Josephine & Elizabeth, there’s: Genevieve, Cassandra, Saathvika & Isabella!

        What a lot of writing the poor girl had to do for Valentine’s Day! 😀

        1. Lola, thank goodness you said that – both kids are now installed at the table, finishing their valentines for tomorrow!

  5. Abby, your children are adorable! But, wow, Ayriel? That’s an odd one.

    Shugar? Seriously? If that’s like Sugar, it sounds like a dog name. But, I want to say it as [shoo-GAR] to give it a semi-exotic flair. Eh, whatever.

    As far as surname names, I think Embry Lotus is pretty cool! But, Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni is a bit of a mouthful, not to mention Max Nixon-Marinoni is lacking some flow. Zuzu. Oh, Zuzu! It reminds me of Zazu from The Lion King every time…

    I feel like we need a throwback to older celebrity children, and I’m thinking of two in particular. Susan Sarandon’s daughter, Eva Maria Livia Amurri, and Meryl Streep’s oldest daughter, Mary Willa “Mamie” Gummer. Both are actresses in their own right today, but they’ve got very romantic, on the one hand, and very vintage, on the other hand, names!