Preface: I originally submitted this letter to a baby-namer-blogger but she didn't respond which was rude but also expected. I didn't pose a particularly bizarre situation or unusual naming hoops to jump through. We simply need help choosing a classic formal name that has a bit of an edge, that can be shortened into an adorable nickname. Oh, we also need a middle name that meshes well with the first because I am a firm believer in middle names for all babies.

With that said, I think we have partially decided on a name that surprisingly isn't on the list but I thought I would put this out into the world to see if you have any other suggestions. 

"Oh, Nameless Blogger That Refused Our Inquiry, the Baby Naming Queen,

Someone should really consider getting you a crown. I am in dire need of your assistance. My husband, McKay & I are expecting our first baby girl in mid-March, who I fear might end up nameless. I’m feeling a lot of pressure naming this little one because her name essentially sets the tone for all future Livingston babies, which leaves little room for error. McKay & I have a laundry list of requirements that we would like the name to meet. With that said, we also have a very specific taste in names which I am finding to be limiting. Let me break it down for you. (Someone drop a beat. I’m kidding. Sort of.)

First, I don’t want her name to be an “excuse me? What?” over the phone. I spend a lot of my time at work speaking with people all over the world & I’ve ended enough conversations not having the slightest idea of what their name was. Perhaps this is why I like timeless names because people understand them.

Second, I’d like to avoid names that can be pronounced a handful of ways, such as Andrea. Is it on-dray-uh, or an-dree-uh? I know this can be hard to avoid because everyone speaks differently. For instance, my name is Megan & I specifically make a point to say, “meh-gan” but most people say “may-gan.” Tah-may-toe, tah-mah-toe, right? Wrong. Always tah-may-toe.

Third, unusual spelling is out. I live in a place where people really love to get it on with unique spelling. (Ahem, Utah.) I don’t understand it & I don’t want any part of it.  Traditional spelling for us, please.

Fourth & foremost, if the formal name can be shortened (which I actually prefer), it must be equally as adorable as the original. I grew up as Megan, which I never particularly loved so now as an adult, I go by Meg. I’m glad that I have a name that has options, like the menu at McDonald’s. This is also the guideline that has caused me the most grief because there are a lot of names that I love, but when shortened become less than appealing. Scarlett (pretty!) to Scar (Simba’s uncle that needed some Xanax.)

Now that I’ve revealed to you that I’m a little bit crazy & demanding with my rules, let’s get onto the names that are currently on the table. Potential middle names included- if we have one that we particularly like anyway. We lean towards classic, yet unique names that can be used in everyday life without being weird or misunderstood. Grandma names, essentially.

Olive Jane – this is admittedly is my favorite. I made a first-mom mistake by settling on this name before consulting with McKay. To my surprise & heartbreak, he doesn’t love it. I’m not above bribing though. Olive is everything that I love in a name; classic, easy to understand/spell, with a hint of flair. Olive has the edge that I’m looking for, which is why I prefer it to Olivia. I also really enjoy the nicknames that will be inevitably used- Liv, Livy, or even Oli. The one concern (that obviously isn’t big enough to remove the name from the list) is our last name is Livingston. Olive Livingston. The repeating “liv” sound freaks some of my family members out, but it doesn’t bother me. There is something so sweet & simple about the name Olive Jane Livingston that I can’t seem to part with.

Juniper Help-I-Need-A-Middle-Name – After the painstaking requirement to sever my attachment to Olive Jane, Juniper is the first name that McKay & I equally have liked. Perhaps Juniper Blythe or Juniper Lane? I like nearly all of the nicknames that come along with Juniper- June, Juni, Juno.

Penelope – McKay’s favorite. I don’t mind it. I especially like Penny. As timeless names come in & out of being “trendy,” I’d like to choose a name just outside of the current style. Preferably names that could be trend-setting, instead of currently trendy. Penelope may be a bit too popular for my liking at the moment. Perhaps for the next baby girl?

Other names that we enjoy with less of an explanation:

Charlotte NN: Charlie

Violet NN: Vi. I don’t love “Vi” but it doesn’t bother me like “Scar” does with Scarlett.

Nora – I don’t think Nora would (or could) be shortened. It’s lovely on its own. If we ended up going with Nora & she wanted to shun us for that choice, she could always go by her middle name as her first name.

Dotty – This name has floated on & off of our list for months. It’s nice because it’s a family name (of family members that we actually like. That’s a perk.) We both prefer “Dotty” over “Dorothy” & “Dot” is a pleasant nickname.

I’m not sure if this is helpful to your wonderful, naming ways but here are a few names that we originally liked, but have been cut from the list.

Margot – I fear that it may turn into “Marge”, which is a no.

Iris – McKay can’t get over the “it’s the part of your eyeball” thing.

Maude – Perhaps for a middle name but it lacks a certain femininity that I like.

Poppy – LOVE this name but the nickname “Pop” or “Pops” doesn’t sit well.
To help with the overall picture of our future family, here are the boy names we were considering before we found out about our little miss.

Knox  (our favorite. We would most likely pair this with William as the middle name,) Maxwell, Charles, Eames, Leo, Jack, Ezra, Chester, Wallis, Jude, Maddox & Conrad.

Whoop, there it it. Oh, & the hot mess that it is. It’s hard to choose one name & even harder to choose two that mesh well together. Help us find a classic, yet unique name or baby Livingston might just be without one.

Our thanks & a lifetime of cyber cupcakes, (Really though. You totally deserve all of the cake for being so brilliant.)

Meg & McKay Livingston"


  1. Oh my goodness you have simply the cutest list of names. Also we both have great taste, because I kid you not I have had the name Olivia Jane picked out for my baby girl for years! Olivia is my middle name so I was like oh duh, easy & cute, plus I am a few months pregnant so really hoping its a girl. But I LOVE the name Penelope! It is so cute and Penny is too adorable and kind of fits perfect with Jane as a middle?

  2. I love olive and Penelope but l really think Mabel Rose Livingston sounds great! Or Mabel Jane:) whichever sounds great! Goodluck:)

    1. Oh, it's funny that you suggest Mabel because we have had quite a few others suggest it as well! My maiden name is Abel so I was frequently called Mabel as a lackluster nickname, ha! Maybe if it wasn't tainted by my teen years, it would be on the naming table.

  3. Over here you wouldn't shorten Scarlett to scar (just why), I've only ever heard the nn lettie. Scarlett Imogen was our top baby girl choice. Scar is an unfortunate issue. Your baby name choices are lovely and Olive is just effortless. Other names maybe Edith nn edie or Sylvie. You'll get there anyway and her name will be perfect.

    1. You're spot on. We loved, loved, loved Scarlett but I'm afraid that it would naturally get shortened to Scar but you may be right that it just wouldn't. Some names just stay in their formal format. I also love Imogen but McKay used a pass on that one. Edith is another on our list! We are speaking the same naming language.

  4. Oh and Juniper is beaut, recently heard the mn Gwen which is sweet. Im a baby name fiend since I gained mama status

  5. I had a friend name her little girl Penelope and they used Poppy for short. I'm obsessed with Vivian. I think Viv is the cutest but that would cause the same issue as "liv" with your last name. Just a random reader, but baby names are so fun to read about and yet one of the hardest things are giving birth ha! Good luck!

    olive is beautiful and i love the name nora. ok, i love them all.

  7. I love the name Poppy (unfortunately, the husband doesn't), but there really isn't a nickname... I also love Juniper. Maybe Juniper Ann?

  8. I can't recomend Poppy, because I want to keep that to myself! Haha I don't mind the nicknames that go with- I think they're cute.

    Juniper though... to me that seems like everything you're looking for! Feminine, classic, and oh so lovely. I've never met anyone named Juniper, but I sure would like to! All your names are cute, but Juniper is my favorite. (Olive is my runner up and then Nora and then Penelope.)

  9. I like most of the names, particularly "Jane" and "Penelope / Penny".
    Please consider that if you should name her Olive (which I think SOUNDS lovely), people will say things like "Where is Olive?" "In a glass in the fridge!". It can really be annoying.
    I have NEVER heard "Juniper". I think through the telephone it could sound like "Jennifer" or "Jupiter". But that is just what I personally think.
    Nora is lovely too, but it is already a nickname per se (Eleonora). That could be a suggestion!
    I'm sure you will find something cute. And I don't think your list is crazy or demanding. I have the same exact criteria. You have a right too be picky! It is a gift you give to your daughter which she will carry with her forever!

  10. I absolutely adore Poppy!! Think it is so sweet!!! My husband and are expecting a little boy in March, and Maxwell is at the top of our list, so I couldn't help but smile when I saw it on your boys list :)

  11. My mom is a Dorothy who goes only by dolly but as a child went by dot, which I love. I also recently met a dahlia that went by dolly. Other Dorothys in my family went by dodie, doily and dotty. So many fun names! I love dotty and poppy lots :)

  12. I know a Scarlet that goes by 'letti'... and i think that is cute! I feel you though.. names are so hard! We are having the same struggle naming our baby girl.

  13. These are all great. I'm always on board with people not doing unique spellings. Save your kid some hardship you know?

  14. my cute friend named her baby juniper olive grace :) but I think juniper grace would be so cute!

  15. I love Elsie. It's an old fashion-y name that a lot of my residents had, and I fell in love with it. Unfortunately for me, BOTH of my sister in law's are named Kelsey. So it would be Kelsey Shuey, Kelsey Shuey, and Elsie Shuey. No bueno.


  16. I love that Olive is your first! Haha! We are naming our son Oliver James and I am very excited to call him "Ollie" as a nickname. As far as girl names… What about Rosalie, shortened to Rosie/Rose? That's pretty much all I've got. And AMEN ON THE UTAH NAMES OMG. I also live in Utah and so often am like, "What's your name? Sorry, what is it again? How do you spell that? Can you say it slower, please?" Oh, just remembered some more girl names Everleigh, Winnie (they are my sister's so don't tell lol). Anyways, excited to see what you name your cute babe!

  17. Hello Megan, I'm french and an avid reader of your blog! I think it's really exciting to chose a name for your baby girl: Here are my favorites : Anna (so elegant!!), Emma (just so sweet, and can be shortened by Em), Isabelle !
    Hope it will help !!

  18. Dot/Dotty reminds me of a character in this season's American Horror Story…
    But my middle name is Alyce (pronounced Elise, not Alice), which is traditional German spelling, and I LOVE having a name that has history to it. Being German myself, it's fun having that little "secret" to my name.
    I also know a lot of girls who are naming their daughter Olivia right now… sad face. Think about favourite authors or movie characters though! For example, I love Harper (Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird), Marlin (Finding Nemo), and Reagan (as in our past president). Hope this helps!

  19. You have great taste in ideas of names..! haha I love your ideas so far and I didn't read through other comments, so maybe you already go these suggestions: Amelia (Millie), Laney (Or Delaney, maybe)... Gwen, Bryn, Georgia, Lucy (or Luella), Hattie, Kamryn... I don't know. Names are hard. haha Good luck! Can't wait to see what you end up naming her, I'm sure it will be perfect, and maybe once you have her and you see her, you'll find a name that just... fits.

  20. Ummm. I love this. I love all the names here. And you are spot on with all your name requirements. Some names that I love that come to mind(because I have a mild obsession with baby names): Evangeline; nn Eva, Evie. Estelle nn Stella, Estée. Elena nn Elle, Lane, Ellie. And Gemma.

    What ever name you guys end up picking will be perfect. Good luck!

  21. I actually vote for Penelope for your gem. I mean Olivia is the best name kid you not. some people even call me Olive. Fun fact: my sisters name is Jane. We are Olivia and Jane. but I'm really digging the Penelope "Penny" Livingston vibe. My mom was huge into baby names. beyond obsessive. She got into beautiful Victorian royalty names. Me and my sisters first and middles are:
    Olivia Gabrielle
    Jane Alexadra
    Katherine Grace (she goes by Kate)
    & Anna Elizabeth
    I dunno I felt obligated to say something to defend my name up there. it's great. (but also p.s. my family and I spell the nickname Livvy with two v's. I don't think that's crazy utah unique, I've just always preferred it that way but it's whatevs.)


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