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The Age of Bold Middle Names

bold middle names

By Abby Sandel

Filler middle names are a thing of the past.

It’s a 21st century baby naming reality. Not only do we obsess over finding the perfect first name, we have to find middles that hit the right note, too.

That wasn’t always the case. If you were born in the 1980s, there’s a good chance that your parents named you Melissa Ann. Or maybe you’re Heather Marie. In the last decade or two, names like Rose and Grace became favorite middles for girls.

For boys, the classics – James, William, and Joseph – have always been big.

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Baby Name Etta-quette

etta names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Since the meteoric rise of Ella and Isabella, parents have looked around at other ella-ending baby names, such as Mirabella, Arabella, Annabella and Ariella.

But now Ella’s cousin Etta is also beginning to attract some attention, already picked by one celeb, Carson Daly, who was inspired by the great soul singer Etta James, and it has made appearances on several TV shows.

With this in mind, I thought it was time to take a look at etta-ending names, and make our picks of the best.

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Nine Baby Name Journeys

baby name journeys

By Abby Sandel

Sooner or later, you’ll have to choose.

The rules vary based on where your child is born. But some authority somewhere is going to want you to register your new arrival, possibly before leaving the hospital. If not, eventually, in order to get a passport or enroll in school or something, your child will need an official name. And the grandparents? They’ll be asking, too. Because calling your kiddo “the baby” gets old fast.

But choosing isn’t easy, whether it’s your first child or you’re a veteran parent.

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baby director

By Abby Sandel

You know you’re a name nerd when half the fun of a new Disney Pixar film is the list of production babies.

I loved every second of the studio’s newest production, Inside Out.

As the credits rolled, I waited patiently. Accounting scrolled by, then Craft Services, until – finally! – the list of 87 children born to Pixar employees during the year Inside Out was finalized and released.

We could talk about Riley, of course, the name of the main character. Between this movie and Steph Curry’s scene-stealing daughter, Riley is having quite the summer. And Amy Poehler, the voice of Joy, is a great namer herself, the mother of Archie and Abel.

But production babies are a special category of names.

Ever since the studio put out their first feature-length film, Toy Story, way back in 1995, they’ve included the list.

The lists are just names – no genders, no sibling names, middles only when more than one child has the same first name. But the names tend to be different, even daring. Exactly what you’d expect from a creative field and especially from such a famously innovative studio.

Before we go any further, it’s time for a shout out to the fabulous Sarah of Names 4 Real. Sarah compiled the names after she heard me lamenting that I hadn’t thought to jot them down.

Let’s talk about some of my favorite names from 2015’s Inside Out, and then look at the full list.

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Every Name Tells a Story

baby name stories

By Abby Sandel

If there’s one rule of modern baby naming, it might be this: expect to tell your story.

How did you choose her name?” is one of my go-to conversation starters with new parents. It’s as reliable as “how did you meet?” to a newly engaged couple, or “do you have any fun plans for the weekend?” to … well, almost anyone.

Sometimes the response is a vague, “Oh, I don’t know, we just liked it.”

But usually there’s a story, and it’s often a great story about going through dozens of possibilities until one clicked. Or discovering that her favorite fictional character was also the name of his favorite great-aunt, so the baby had to called Eglantine. Obviously.

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