For the 'different, not weird' baby namer

Moniker Morsel: Fiery Fiammetta

Fiammetta is feminine and elegant without being totally over the top.

Origin: Fiammetta is an Italian name meaning ‘little flame.’

Famous Fiammetta’s: Fiammetta Cicogna is an Italian celebrity figure.  Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio used the name for a key character in several of his works.

Sibling Name Ideas:

Alessia, Flora, Freya, Petra, Monica

Domenico, Emilio, William, Cade, Jasper


Fiammetta Simone, Fiammetta Rose

Vivian Fiammetta, Antonia Fiammetta


My thoughts:

I love Fiammetta. She’s super feminine yet accessible. Fia, Etta, and Metta are girly, unique nicknames that would be so sweet on a little one.  I also think Fiammetta would make a chic first name to dress up a short, common surname, like Smith, Jones, or Johnson.



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Nerdy Namesakes: Brilliant Biologists

As a recent biology grad, I have many an idol in the field. Would I deliberately name my child after one of them? Doubtful, but there is certainly a wide variety of wonderful names to choose from!

Charles Darwin- English naturalist most notable for his contribution to evolution theory. Charles is a classic on the upswing, and Darwin is quirky yet dapper.

James Watson-
One of the first, along with Crick, Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins, to recognize the double helical structure of DNA. I can’t see sweet and sophisticated James ever going out of style. Watson would make an interesting choice for the daring namer, and would fit in with popular surname names.

Francis Crick- Collaborated with Watson in the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA. Francis is dated, but could be usable, considering the vintage trend. I cannot bring myself to advocate for naming a child Crick!

Rosalind Franklin- An X-ray crystallographer whose X-ray diffraction images led Watson and Crick to their realization of the structure of DNA. Franklin died at the age of 37, and therefore did not share in the Nobel Prize awarded for the work. Her contribution to the discovery and status as a pioneering figure for young women in science continue to be recognized nonetheless. Rosalind would be a beautiful, sophisticated vintage choice. Franklin may be so old it’s new again.

Carl Linnaeus- (Also Carolus Linnaeus and Carl Von Linne) Known as the father of modern taxonomy. Carl is clean and simple; Linnaeus might be a bit out there. The female name Linnea, however, comes from the genus name for the twinflower, which is named for Linnaeus himself. Linnaea would be a usable alternate spelling.

Thomas Huxley- An English biologist nicknamed “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his public support of Darwin’s ideas. Thomas is a great classic, and Huxley would make a unique, modern choice, with Huck as a potential nickname.

Gregor Mendel- The “father of modern genetics,” Mendel is best known for discovering the laws of inheritance by studying pea plants. I find Gregor to be a darling international option. Mendel would be an unusual and very obvious reference.

Elizabeth Blackburn- A molecular biologist who has made important contributions to the study of telomeres and the telomerase enzyme. You can never go wrong with a sophisticated classic like Elizabeth, and it has such a great variety of nicknames!

Frederick Sanger– The winner of two Nobel Prizes, Sanger made important strides in the areas of protein structure and DNA sequencing. While Frederick is a handsome choice, Sanger is a bit much for me. But hey, there were 7 Sadler’s, 8 Satchel’s, and 7 Sender’s born last year, so maybe Sanger will appeal to someone.

Kary Mullis A major contributor to the improvement of the polymerase chain reaction, an important method for amplifying DNA sequences. Both Kary and Mullis would make unique, potentially unisex choices.

Matthias Schleiden A German botanist best known for his contribution to cell theory, along with Theodor Schwann and Rudolph Virchow. I think Matthias is a very accessible international option. It’s off the grid and fairly rare in the USA, yet it’s stylish and on-trend. With its connection to Matthew, Matthias suits the ‘different, not weird’ criteria perfectly!

I do regret the lack of females on this list. Of course, the list is not comprehensive, and I hope that with these ladies paving the way, there will be even more wonderfully-named women to add in the years to come!

Feel free to add your own favorite biologist’s name to the list!

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Surnames as First Names: A Tribute to Favorite Writers

Surnames as first names aren’t my personal style, but they’re certainly becoming increasingly popular and adventurous. So, here are a few surnames I can live with…and that have the added bonus of paying homage to a literary great!

Alcott (Louisa May)- Strong and unisex (a la Madison, Reagan, and Jordan), Alcott would make a stylish and unique given name. The classic nickname Allie is sweet and simple.

Austen (Jane)- With Austin’s familiarity, Austen is no stretch.

Bronte (Emily, Charlotte, Anne)- Already in use, Bronte makes an unique yet accessible girls’ name.

Eliot (T.S., George)- With Elliot soaring as a boys’ name (and increasing for girls, too), this spelling is very accessible and serves as a subtle reference. Eli is a cool nickname.

Fitzgerald (F. Scott)- Formal and refined, Fitzgerald would be a daring choice, but I like Fitz as a nickname.

Huxley (Aldous)- Plays well with Hadley, Harley, etc. And how sweet is Huck as a nickname?

Verne (Jules)- Verne is unique and appealing as a sleek, modern sounding choice.

Runners Up: Conrad (Joseph), Cooper (James Fenimore), Hugo (Victor) and Lee (Harper)…already commonly in use as delightful first names.

Would you name a child after the author of your favorite literary classic? What do you think of surnames as first names?


Mythological Creature Names

Let’s go beyond Griffin and Phoenix and dig up some mythological entities that would make wearable baby names with a touch of whimsy. They’re pretty badass, too.

Adhene- (Manx) A group of beautiful fairies who were once fallen angels.
Amala- (Native American) A giant who holds up the Earth.
Arion- (Greek) An extremely fast, immortal, talking horse. Impressive.
Alphyn- A wolf-like creature with a dragon’s belly and a knotted tail.
Asrai- (English) A type of aquatic fairy.
Fae/Fay- (English) Another general term for fairies.
Faun- (Roman) Part human, part goat, totally sweet girl’s name.
Iara- (Brazilian) A beautiful siren or water nymph (a water snake, in earlier mythology).
Melusine- A female water spirit most often depicted as a mermaid.
Merrow- (Scottish, Gaelic) Merfolk.
Peri- (Persian) Fairy-like creatures.
Raicho- (Japanese) A crow-like bird that can make the sound of thunder.
Typhon- (Greek) Known as the “Father of all Monsters,” son of Gaia and Tartarus.
Xana- (Austrian) A beautiful water nymph.

I’ve always loved Fae and Fay, and I’m especially intrigued by Asrai, Iara, and Raicho. Which of these unusual creature names do you think could make a viable baby name? Would you add any to this list?


Moniker Morsel: Todd

Todd is cool and cute.  The name ages well and certainly fits the criteria of not terribly common, but far from obscure. 


Origin of Todd: Todd stems from an English surname meaning ‘fox.’  I imagine this is why it was used in one of my favorite children’s movies, The Fox and the Hound!

Notable Todd’s: Chef Todd English, musician Todd Rundgren, children’s book author Todd Parr

Suitable Sibling Names:

Tia, Taryn, Tessa, Bria, Kate

Scott, Chad, Eric, Gregory, Brady


Todd Everett, Todd Emmanuel

Nathaniel Todd, Oliver Todd


My thoughts: I love Todd for his versatility and simplicity. I also love secret nature names.  My only hesitation would be the possibility of mean nicknames like Odd Todd…what do you think?




Happy New Year! Hopeful girls’ names for 2014

January is a time of high spirits, hopes, changes, and new beginnings. Here are some names that reflect the hopeful sentiments of the New Year!

Amala- hope (Arabic)
Asha- hope (Sanskrit)
Aurora- dawn (Latin)- cute nickname Rory
Beatrix- she who brings happiness (Latin)
Dagny- New day (Scandinavian)
Eilir- butterfly (Welsh)
Esperanza-hope (Spanish)
Oriana- to rise, dawn (Latin)
Nadia- Hope (Russian)
Nadine-Hope (French)
Nysa/Nyssa- goal (Greek)
Renee- reborn (French)

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