Sunday Summary: 6.3.18Happy Sunday!

A few days ago, my husband texted me a photo of a Share a Coke label.

Him: Araceli??? Guess it’s Spanish?

Me: Yup.

Him: Huh. Thought it was a type of pasta.

He knew I’d know it immediately. I mean – if it’s common enough to make a Share a Coke bottle, it’s almost certainly on my radar. But for him? He’d never heard the name before.

And that’s something to remember: when you’re wild about names, searching high and low for The One, it’s easy to forget that others won’t share your interest. The name that strikes you as instantly familiar, rich with history, and just different enough?

To someone else, it’s pasta.


So do you use the unusual name, or not?

I think the question you have to ask yourself is this: will you mind explaining your child’s name to other people? Will it bother you to tell others that Araceli is Spanish, from a Latin phrase that means “altar of the sky,” and that it refers to Our Lady of Araceli, the Patron Saint of Lucena, Spain? Or will it thrill you to share a little about the name you so lovingly chose, and what it means to you and your family?

I’m Team Thrill.

Ask me about my kids’ names, and I can talk. But if that thought makes you squirm? Save the bold name for the middle spot, and proudly embrace a more mainstream first. Because Katherine Araceli is all kinds of crazy gorgeous and meaningful, too.

Elsewhere online:

  • First Koala, now Bruin! Brandi Redmond of The Real Housewives of Dallas recently welcomed son Bruin, who joins sisters Brooklyn and Brinkley. Brandi’s husband is Bryan, so I guess it pretty much had to be a Br- name for their youngest. They balanced the wild first with a traditional middle: Charles.
  • Confession: I’ve been mentally trying to name twenty-one children ever since I read about the Radford family’s new baby. Britain’s largest family had promised that their twentieth child, baby Archie, was their last. But not so! Their children are Chris, Sophie, Jack, Chloe, Daniel, Luke, Millie, Katie, Ellie, James, Aimee, Josh, Max, Tillie, Oscar, Casper, Hallie, Phoebe, and Archie, as well as son Alfie, who was stillborn. As for my list? Things start to get hazy after daughter number eight or so … and son number two!
  • This year’s Class Superlatives are awesome, from Aaban to Zyva.
  • Swistle gives sound advice in this post: … it looks to me as if you are in general asking too much from this name. I wonder if it would be helpful to completely shift the focus and look for a name that would be solid and useful to him, without tying it so strongly to his parents’ identities/priorities/backgrounds/interests?
  • Isn’t Esther a gorgeous name?
  • This question is thought-provoking: have name nerds triumphed? Are we naming babies better these days? Duana ponders.
  • I love a good post about reinventing grandma names.
  • Thinking about Wonder Woman baby names today, because it’s a year since the blockbuster movie was released. As for the sequel? We’ll be waiting until December 2019.
  • A graceful and generous look at Utah baby names, from a native daughter of the state. I know many of you have probably seen the series of tweets from a Utah mom dissing the names of her kids’ classmates. I cringed. All I could think was this: don’t they live in this town? Isn’t she going to see the parents of these kids at the grocery store, back-to-school night, her kids’ soccer games? Church? While mowing the lawn? Loving the names you love does not require bashing the names others choose – a lesson I’ve learned the hard way over the years.

One last note: thanks to my fantastic tech support team, we’ve made some small changes to the site to make it compliant with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. But I’m still puzzling out how to make my newsletter match up with the new regulations. So it’s on hiatus for a few weeks until I get caught up. Apologies to anyone who is missing their weekly extra dose.

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you 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. I think it’s worth remembering that it’s your children that will have to spend their time explaining the origin of their unusual names and not just you (and they’ll be explaining it for a lot longer than you will!). I’d tend to encourage people to go with the more out-there name rather than play it safe, but in this age when privacy is getting harder and harder to maintain, I am really seeing the downsides of having a very unusual name. I think that’s at least part of the reason why so many parents are trying to find that sweet spot between ‘name that’s super-common’ and ‘name that requires frequent explanation’.

    You’d probably have found the Coke bottle names we had in Quebec interesting, and there’s a Thai restaurant in our neighbourhood that has a display of ‘name’ Coke cans from Thailand which I find really fascinating. I should send you a pic!

    1. Having an unusual name really isn’t a big deal. Even in my case where I spell it to people over the phone at work multiple times a day. Not some nightmarish life altering or ruining prospect. I also appreciate the built-in icebreaker.

    2. Ooh … yes, would LOVE a pick of the Thai name cans!

      I don’t know how the whole privacy angle will impact what we name our children. It’s interesting, because no one ever talks about changing our surnames – even though that’s as much part of the equation as anything.

  2. My older daughter is Rosalie and I am flabbergasted by how many people think that we made it up! I expected people to bring up Twilight but that’s happened only once. Far more common is for people to ask repeatedly what I just said and then say, Ah, Rosie. You are so right that the perspective of a name enthusiast is a bit skewed.

  3. Araceli – what a lovely name and meaning, I love that you can get that on a coke bottle in the USA, no unusual names at all on them here in Britain.

    1. Laura, when I was in England a few summers ago, I was delighted by how many unusual names I found on Coke bottles … and I think the program has expanded since then! (In fact, a security guard at a London shop stopped me from taking pictures. Or tried to. I think he was mostly just puzzled by why anyone would … and I kept snapping pictures while we chatted. I think it was a Boots.) So maybe it’s more about what we’re used to?

  4. I really enjoy your weekly blog, but I must express my disagreement with your including mention of the couple who reproduced themselves 21 times and have contributed to overpopulating this planet. They certainly don’t deserve media attention for that. If they “really love children”, there are better ways to include many children in their lives, such as reaching out to needy children already born by becoming foster parents. I did not read through the list of what these self-indulgent people named their offspring.

  5. I saw and read the tweets about the Utah names. I got a chuckle because no ones feelings are getting hurt when I’m laughing to myself on my couch. I certainly wouldn’t laugh at the children or parents who have/bestowed the names. I was taken aback that this woman would so publicly bash the names as she likely has to live/work/coexist with these families. However, my guess is this woman is not a Mormon and didn’t grow up in Utah or with Mormons. Because, despite that being true for me, I’ve known for years that Mormons do this with names/naming. If I’m correct it’s entirely possible that this woman’s non-Mormon status already brands her an outsider. And she’s likely not accepted by these families as it is. If that’s the case she may have simply felt that she had nothing to lose by publicly mocking names in a yearbook.

    1. You must be right … that she feels like an outsider, and so she feels like she has nothing to lose. It still feels … cruel? Sad? Hollow? I don’t know. But I appreciate your insight – and it *is* tough to be the odd man out. Also, surely she didn’t expect her tweets to go viral …

      1. It was still mean-spirited and in poor taste, I agree. I was just trying to understand why she felt free to put her feelings about her community on blast. It’s sad, all around.
        Though I did enjoy seeing the round-up of names.