Sunday SummaryI love writing about names. Does that go without saying? Since Appellation Mountain launched in January 2008, I’ve been surprised and delighted to meet so many others with an interest in names.

And the biggest privilege of all? Helping parents name their children. The Saturday #namehelp series here is one of my biggest joys, and I’m doubly delighted to write a similar column for Nameberry on Wednesdays.

From time to time, I’ve been asked if I offer private consultations. Up until, I haven’t. I have tried to answer every email and Facebook message, but it’s tough to know which ones are serious.

Many of the questions are sensitive. Or some of us just aren’t comfortable having our name choices discussed and dissected online, but desperately need an objective opinion.

Beginning June 1st, I’ll be offering a limited number of private baby name consultations for a fee. The fee includes the equivalent of a blog post response to your questions, plus two email follow-ups.

It’s a little bit of a beta program right now, so I’m keeping the fee lower than my usual hourly rate: $125 for the package.

I know, I know! That’s dinner-and-a-movie money – plus the babysitter! – for many of us. And so I’m going to continue to offer name consultations for free, both on Saturdays here, as well as via Nameberry’s Name Sage column.

If you have questions about the service, please feel free to contact me at appmtn (at) gmail (dot) com. And if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can find details on the Private Baby Name Consultations page here.

Now, on to the baby name news:

  • Okay, this isn’t baby name news. At all. But sometimes when I’m cleaning up spam comments, I actually read them. And some of them are great! My favorite of the year so far: One nice thing that came out of that, however, was that I got life insurance money allowing me to clear a debt with a tattoo artist who had done some amateur taxidermist work for me. He served about a decade in prison in the 1990s for manslaughter. Wait, what? I feel like there’s a Netflix original series in there …
  • Speaking of Netflix, by now I’m sure you’ve heard that late 1980s/early 1990s sitcom Full House is about to be rebooted by the network as Fuller House. DJ and Samantha are back, along with Kimmy. DJ has a son called JD – Jesse Daniel – another son named Max, and a third baby on the way. I can’t decide if reversing mom’s initials is genius, or confusing – I’ll have to hear how it works on the series. Kimmy’s daughter is – wait for it! – Ramona. I’m not a fan of the original show, but my six year old is obsessed with it in re-runs, so I’m sure we’ll be tuning in. And hey, I do have to hear what DJ names the new baby!
  • Oh, Aidan – thank you so much for including Appellation Mountain in your ADR Friday Loves! If you’re not already reading Ivy League Insecurities, it’s absolutely worth a look. She reviews amazing books, and shares her thoughts on motherhood, friendship, and more. One of my go-tos. Also, she named the heroine of her first novel Prudence Quinn. It gets no better than that.
  • Hugo Archie TickridgeSometimes a name pops up in British Baby Names’ birth announcement columns that makes me pause and reflect how quirky-cool British style can be. (And it makes me SO glad that we’re visiting London again this summer!)
  • This post from Kate is fascinating. The family decided to use a long-standing family tradition of passing down the mother’s name … even though this was daughter #4!
  • Pretty much every reader with any kind of a medical background said no, no, never to Senna as a baby name. Since my medical knowledge ends somewhere around band-aids and ice packs, I didn’t realize the association was so strong. And yet, here’s a Senna in a Design Mom: Living with Kids profile.
  • The Share-a-Coke campaign is back, and once again, I’m obsessed. New this year: you can actually order a personalized bottle with your name on it for just $5. This means that Clio might finally get her name! (I’ve hunted down the rest of our family.) When I went to see Pitch Perfect 2, I made a point of choosing a Coke Zero bottle inviting me to share with Becca. The movie’s heroine? Beca. Pure coincidence that I stumbled on Becca in the cooler, but how could I not choose it after that?
  • Which reminds me – Rebel Wilson is everywhere! And even though raunchy humor makes me blush, I find her sort of delightful. But name my daughter Rebel? No. I don’t think I would. And yet the name has taken off along with Ms. Wilson’s career. In 2012, there were six girls named Rebel. By 2014, there were 58. The actress is set to star in a reboot of Private Benjamin, the movie that earned original star Goldie Hawn an Oscar nomination.
  • Are names getting longer? Apparently in Vietnam, the answer is yes. And for lots of reasons, authorities are considering capping the total number of letters in a child’s name to 25. They cite several reasons, including that long names are “inconvenient in paperwork.” Administrative inconvenience strikes me as a weak reason to put restrictions in place. And yet, the US is in a similar position with a diacritical marks.
  • Congratulations to Kara at The Art of Naming on her two year blogoversary!
  • Am I the only one fascinated by Hollywood name changes? Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm, and all that … Maybe that’s why Nancy’s list of the Gaiety Girls – young women performing in musical comedies in London’s West End circa 1890 – caught my eye. Constance became Connie, while Laura became Constance. I would’ve loved to have listened to them choose their stage names!
  • Dasani is a very popular brand name-turned-baby name. No, really. And the rest of the list is equally surprising.

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a fabulous week ahead!

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. Very cool about your private consulations!! They’ll be in hot demand I’m sure!!

  2. Ramona! That’s the first thing I’ve heard about the show that makes me want to watch it…

  3. Here in Australia there was a lot of controversy lately about Rebel Wilson. Some old “school friend” spoke to the media and said that Rebel is not her name, she was Melanie at school. Rebel came back with a fantastic response on Twitter “OMG I’m actually a 100 year old mermaid formerly known as “CC Chalice””!

    When someone went to the trouble of actually checking their facts, her first name on her birth certificate is in fact Rebel, but she went by her middle name Melanie at school because she went to a fairly conservative school from the sounds of it.

    All the fuss seems pointless as actors go by screen names all the time anyway (if it were true). But between the original article and Rebel’s responses, then the follow up “research”, the story made the news here almost every day for a week – don’t know if it got a mention in America 🙂

  4. On the Sancta Nomina post, did you catch that all of their daughters go by their middles? That makes them Ruth, Rose, Wren and Rhea!