There’s a theme to this Sunday Summary, methinks:

  • First up, Hope Edelman guested over at Nameberry about seeing a name scrawled on a mailbox late in her pregnancy, and knowing that someone (other than the graffiti artist) was sending her a sign. Check out the whole story – Maya’s name was truly meant to be;
  • On the small screen, Mad Men’s Betty Draper had a strange hallucinatory dream while in labor and decided to name her baby boy after her dearly departed dad, Eugene. Don doesn’t seem to be on board – tune in tonight to see what happens. And thank your lucky stars that you didn’t give birth in the 1950s;
  • In the Names of the Future column, Laura Wattenberg considers Ily – pronounce it like Riley, without the first R. Don’t get it? Text ILY to your better half – I Love You. Get it? Kind of sweet, if terribly lightweight. And just one-L short of an espresso maker;
  • Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley put Nancy Leigh on the birth certificate! Schwoo! And the baby is adorable, so if they want to call her Naleigh? Oh well. I understand the urge to honor loved ones while still giving your a child a name of her own. Plus, Nancy Kelley is deliciously retro – it sounds like she should be solving mysteries in a kilt;
  • In this week’s Toronto Star column, the parents named their daughter London Elizabeth, for a few reasons – including the fun fact that the parents met in London, Ontario.

The theme? It’s all about how we make our choices. Often a name that seems atrocious, or just plain blah, seems different when you know the whole story.

In celeb news:

  • I’ll admit I don’t know anything about Colombian singer Juanes, except that he picks fabulous baby names. He and wife Karen have welcomed son Dante, a little brother for Luna and Paloma;
  • Swimmer Amanda Beard welcomed son Blaise Ray. I like the saintly Blaise, but it does seems like a curious pick for any parent with a career based on speed;
  • Real Housewives of New Jersey cast member Teresa Giudice and husband Joe have welcomed a daughter, Audriana. It’s an inevitable smush of Audrey and Adriana. Big sisters are Gia, Gabriella and Milania.

Elsewhere online, Nymbler announced their Top Ten for August. Never any surprises there: Charlotte, Ava, Benjamin, Amelia, Finn, Grace, Jack, Henry, Oliver and Claire occupy the top spots.

New debuts, on the other hand, are endlessly fascinating:

  • Khloe: How, oh how, did Khloe Kardashian konvince parents to spell Chloe with a K? Sure, it’s defensible. But it doesn’t seem very sophisticated.
  • Gypsy: A little bit stripper, a little bit Fleetwood Mac, a whole lotta huh? as a given name.
  • Gracen: Is this a girls’ twist on Grace – a sister for Madalyn and Addisyn? Or an alt spelling for Grayson?
  • Bodhi: He’s a starbaby choice, and a Sanskrit term for enlightment – could he also be the new Kai?
  • Fable: The fabulous Rebecca Woolf of Girl’s Gone Child named her second child Fable Luella. It’s the new Story, but more obviously feminine, boosted by her similarity to Hazel and Mabel.

Lastly, please note that Sebastiane – she of the truly unusual, usually international baby names, has moved! Legit Baby Names can now be found here. (That’s if you prefer to type it into your browser, old school.) Stop by and bring your box cutter! I’m sure it will take some time to transfer all of her fabulous content.

That’s all for this week. As always, thanks for reading!

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. The sighting of Gypsy makes me remember my love for Rumer, which means Gypsy… I know a lot of people only see rumour, which I think makes it a very interesting name to feature as Name of the Day? I’d love to hear more people’s thoughts on it and some history and usage, so consider this comment a suggestion of Rumer as NotD ^^

    Dante, Paloma and Luna is a fantastic sibset, and Nancy Leigh is an infinitely more acceptable choice than Naleigh… Nancy Kelley makes me smile, such a fun name ^^

  2. I myself would never have the guts to tell someone in their face what I truly thought about their child’s name. If they were pregnant and truly asking me for advice, then maybe I would be a bit more honest, but I would at least be honest with some tact.

    Maya is such a pretty name, but seems to be getting trendy. I prefer the Greek form of Maia.

    I was very disappointed with Mad Men last week, mostly because it dragged a bit. Betty looked kinda angry when she found out that her baby was a boy and not a girl. I wonder if they are going to explore that more in the next coming episodes. I certainly hope its more interesting than the last few weeks. Anyway, I find Eugene to be rather unappealing. My grandmother was named Eugenia, I kinda like Eugenie and might consider it as a mn option in the future. In honour of my grandmother.

    Dante, Luna and Paloma are a fabulous sib set.

    I must say that I am not impressed with Iley, but I can definitely see it catching on what with the popularity of names like Riley and Miley. I think a cuter name is the Nahuatl Nayeli which means “I love you” in that language. It seems to be getting more common in the Mexican community.

    I love the name Blaise. I think its so spunky. Not a huge fan of the mn, but still a nice choice overall. I am also relieved that Katherine Heigl went with Nancy Leigh vs Naleigh as the full name. I wouldn’t hold it past other parents not jumping on Naleigh and wouldn’t be surprised to see that jumping up in popularity. I’m still not quite sure how to say Naleigh (NAY-lee) (NAHL-lee).

    Audriana is a little pretentious but she does go well with Gia, Gabriella & Milania. I don’t hate it. I prefer Audrina.

    I’m still editing some things but I started posting names again and everything’s pretty much back to normal. I’d love to hear some feedback as to what you think of the new site.

    Shay aka Sebastiane of Legitimate Baby Names

    1. Shay, you said to me something along the lines of “Ethan is a dull, boring name and I would never use it”. I think that’s pretty harsh.

      1. Photoquilty, I don’t remember ever telling you personally that I didn’t like Ethan. That was in reference to a post that concerned a celebrity or celebrity baby named Ethan. If you feel that I was insulting your child’s name personally, I am sorry. That was not my intention. I had no idea your son’s name was Ethan until you mentioned the fact afterward.

  3. Ugh, Bodhi. Completely bogan here in NZ (and possibly Australia too if any comments I’ve seen are anything to go by). I also think the similarity in sound to the irksome and frequently featured Cody and Brody doesn’t help. There’s also a Rody at my son’s kindy. All that aside, I don’t mind the sound and I appreciate the meaning.

    Kai wouldn’t fly here at all. It’s the Maori word for food. Practically every man and his dog knows what it means and the same goes for my 2 and 4 year olds.

    I find Fable a little feeble and flaky.

  4. Bodhi – why does this remind me of a surfer?
    Gracen – my hairdresser is naming her son Gracen. Her first son is Christian. If this baby were to have been a girl, it would have been Grace, so she added an N. She almost wanted to spell it Gracon, but I explained to her that GRAY-con didn’t sound as nice. She should be happy she has literate clients like me to set her straight. At least I was polite enough not to say, “Hey that’s an awful name.”
    As for Dante, Luna, and Paloma – well, they fit that family. But here in the States, were I try to pull any of those off, it would be seen as way-pretentious.
    Speaking of judging, what is wrong with people? My B&SIL want to name their son Gavin Blaine. Do I laugh when they tell me? Do I make fun of the extremely gay-sounding name? (I really think Blaine, Lance, Gavin, and Thaddeus have a gay stigma, sorry. Can’t help it.) No, of course I don’t. I say, something like, “That’s so interesting. We never hear Blaine that often”. It’s totally a bland comment, but can’t offend, either. So why is my immature BIL unable to keep his Sabrina the Teenage Witch comments to himself? Or my M&FIL, too? What is it about people that they don’t stop and consider that this is a person I’m naming, not a theoretical doll? I might come on here and talk about names, but I would NEVER say anything like that to anyone’s face. Thoughts? Have you done something like that? I would never. I mean, even to my friend with the Madison/Madeline/Maddy (the dog) thing going on, I never said, “Gee, that’s ridiculous” because you just don’t say it, do you? So, has anyone ever done it? Said the thing you were thinking, even though you knew it owuld hurt the person?

    1. It’s plain rude to express those kinds of opinions to someone expecting and talking actual “I might use this name” names. (Not to mention that, sometimes, as Verity points out, a name that might seem pretty downright icky has something redeeming if you know the reasoning behind it.) Having said that, I’ve found that sharing my thoughts on potential names for my kids with others is often met by shockingly brazen comments. You’d think there would be some consideration that they are talking about the potential name for the grandchild (like one of three possible names, which is how we presented it), but no, “that sounds like a witch,” and “oh, that’s awful” are some of the comments we got when naming our daughter… we didn’t change the names under consideration based on those comments, but we couldn’t un-hear the remarks.

      This time around, we have offered up names to fewer people and we’ve been careful to preempt our names with a “we’d love to hear which one(s) you really like… if you don’t like one, keep it to yourself, because it could well be the name and I’d rather not hear negativity.” And yet I’ve gotten “Oh, Oscar!? Like Oscar the Grouch? Don’t do that to your kid!” and “Oliver? Can we have some more please” (delivered in a particularly sad accent).

      At the end of the day, it’s my experience that unless you are willing to open yourself up to some pretty rude comments, you’ve got to wait until the birth to reveal names. (And even then you don’t get a free pass – one of my oldest friends said the following when I told her my new baby girl was Imogen: “What the f*** kind of name is that?!” Nice.)

      And, for the record, I try to be pretty decent about others’ names choices. My harshest comment was regarding Matthew (a friend’s choice for her son) – I said, “that is a pretty common name in your neck of the woods (PA) and he might have another Matthew in his class – he might have to go by his name + last initial.” It’s one thing to talk smack online, but another thing entirely to make comments to someone in person… then again, even online, there’s no need to go all-out rude either.

      Sorry for your inconsiderate family discussion of your potential names!

    2. And that is why we tell NO ONE the names we are considering this time. Had enough of that the first two pregnancies. And yes, Gavin Blaine is an incredibly gay sounding name. You’re cracking me up with that comment.