I’m obsessed with baby names. Freakishly obsessed.Β Please let me name your baby.

Ask my friends. I’m breathlessly giddy when someone asks my opinion on a combination of first and middle names with the surname or the siblings’ names. My heart races just thinking about it.

Thank goodness I write fiction, which means I can legitimately waste time on baby-name sites when I’m creating characters. Although last year I actually published a story about a couple arguing in the hospital over what to name their third boy. I warned you–freakishly obsessed.

So . . . clearly I have a problem. But lucky for you, if you’re expanding your family or naming characters for stories and novels, I’m offering my collection of names as a good starting point.

The names below have stood the test of time. Whose test? MINE! Hey–it’s my blog. What is the “test” based on? Gut feel. That’s all. I like a name or I don’t. But for the purposes of the list below, I tried to provide some sort of logical headings. It should be noted (because I want kudos for my restraint) that I can provide an even longer list of names I think you should avoid, but I’d rather not insult the blogosphere. At least not today.


  1. The headings–my attempt to “explain” my gut reaction to a name–inherently reflect what I value and admire in a name. (aka, you won’t find a category entitled: “names from Jersey Shore”)
  2. I’ve included more names for girls than boys because I don’t like foofy boys’ names. I could only do so much with my boys’ list.
  3. If you know me in any capacity (and even if you don’t) please do not resent meΒ  for leaving your child’s name off the list. The list is hardly exhaustive. My kids’ names don’t appear on it either! And you know I love those names!
  4. In general if a name is not on this list, it doesn’t mean I hate the name. It means the name is not among my *favorites.* Or . . . it means I’m hoarding it for myself. Because you never know. I have to save the absolute gems.
  5. The list is not alphabetical. For reasons of laziness.


Feminine But Not Flowery: Lydia, Julia, Juliet, Elizabeth, Maya, Mia, Taryn, Caroline, Chelsea, Lindsey, Audrey, Sasha, Layla

Flowery or Cute But in a Way That Works (What do I mean by “works?” I don’t know. It’s subjective. Like I said–gut feel.): Daisy, Phoebe, Libby, Sadie, Lucy, Josie, Lila, Ellie, Ariella, Carly, Emily, April, Abby, Holly, Ivy, Chloe, Ruby

Simple Goodness: Margo, Anna, Annie, Jane, Kate, Lauren, Claire, Allison

Hebrew Names I Love But Didn’t have the Balls to Use for my Girls: Avital, Ayelet, Yael (pronounced YAH-el)

Names I Would Use or Almost Used But are Now Too Close to My Kids’ Names: Danielle, Ilana/Alana/Elana, Eliana, Aliza (pronounced: ah-LEE-za), Eliza (pronounced: eh-LIE-za)


Boy’s Names I Like: Eli, Jack, Seth, Miles, Asher, Daniel, Ethan, Evan, Julian, Ross, Noah, Jared, Gabriel (Gabe), Max, Micah, Nathan, Saul, Zack, Charlie, Drew, Liam, Jake, Simon, Will, Avi, Zev, Ezra, Levi, Judah

So does anyone else collect names? What names would you suggest for my lists that seem to go with the themes? I’m not ashamed to steal ideas!

UPDATE: Soon after I wrote this post, I found out I was pregnant with baby #4. In July 2011, I wrote a follow up called “Help My Husband Name Our Baby.” Why on Earth would I give over naming rights to my husband? You’ll have to read the post to find out!

(Photo credit kaatjeveroort via Flickr)


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Nina Badzin is a freelance writer, a lead writing instructor at ModernWell in Minneapolis as well as ModernWell's book club director. She reviews 50 books a year on her blog, writes reviews for other sites, and has a friendship advice column at The HerStories Project. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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