nicknames, popular names, Appellation Mountain, You Can't Call It "It"!, Nameberry, US name popularity, Linda Rosenkrantz, choosing baby names, Facebook, baby name books, Pinterest, Twitter, Babble, baby name blogs, Wordpress, The Itsy Factor, Apartment Therapy, Making It Lovely, Design Mom, Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine, Pregnant in Heels, Bravo TV, Pamela Redmond Satran
Elisabeth Wilborn is the stylish blogger at long-time favourite amongst name nerds, You Can’t Call it “It”! Elisabeth’s blog is very popular (I bet you’ve been there already!), and I think it’s because she not only has great taste in names, she has a wonderful sense of fun. After years of blogging, Elisabeth has tons of name information to draw upon, all neatly catalogued, and a very lively following who are eager to discuss, debate, suggest, and furiously disagree with each other on the subject of names. This is a blog you will absolutely love if you are passionate about name trends but don’t take yourself too seriously.
What is your name?
Have you ever wished you had a different name?
I used to want to be Olivia, when the name was rarely heard. I thought my parents really missed the boat on Olivia Wilborn, doesn’t that have a nice rhythm? I also tried to go by Libby and Betsy at various points – but they never stuck. It’s funny, because one of the reason my parents chose Elisabeth was because it has so many nicknames.
At what age did you first begin getting interested in names?
From the time I could read I think I was interested in names. They always painted their own portrait to me, and I was astounded, even as a little girl, how certain names seemed to “go together.” Even as a child I could be found in the baby name books section, sandwiched between the preggos. My parents also encouraged a love of language and etymology, which naturally translates to names.
What inspired you to begin a name blog?
After having my first child and doing so much research on names, I felt I could have named a village. I was so overflowing with information at that point, a blog seemed like a natural progression. Abby Sandel’s wonderful Appellation Mountain, which began a few months before YCCII, definitely helped light a fire to create my own space.
You have been successfully blogging for several years now. How have your ideas about names changed during that time?
I just celebrated my fifth blogging anniversary! I can hardly believe it. My tastes have definitely grown to include more genres, and now that my children are school-aged, I’m less likely to come down so harsh on certain names.
You Can’t Call It “It” has its own website now, which looks really stylish. How difficult was it to do that?
Why thank you! Getting off WordPress was a bit of a challenge, and I hired help to transfer data and find hosting. The design I did myself using a template program.
What other blogs do you have, or write for?
I have a child style blog called The Itsy Factor (get it?), which is a little sleepy at the moment. I am also a regular contributor to Apartment Therapy and Nameberry. The blog has been featured online at Babble, Making It Lovely, Design Mom, in print at Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine, and I was even on television as the baby name consultant for Bravo TV’s Pregnant in Heels. I do the Facebook and Twitter thing, and I also have a very active Pinterest following. I’m kind of an addict.
Do you have a favourite blog entry on You Can’t Call It “It”!?
7 Deadly Trends is probably what I’m best known for. It was written in 2008, and I can think of a few that I’d like to add! One of the most fun entries ever was when I asked people their children’s names, and then I would tell them my first instincts about their family, soothsayer style. What shocked all of us is that it was pretty dead-on.
What has been the highlight of your name-blogging career so far?
The people I’ve been able to connect with through blogging. Getting an email from Pamela Redmond Satran out of the blue complimenting me on the blog, and subsequently having lunch and becoming friends with her was pretty cool. She and Linda Rosenkrantz wrote the first books on baby names that really honed in on style, and definitely help shape some perspective for me as a young girl. It was also pretty thrilling to be on television!
Do you have a pet naming peeve?
Tacking unnecessary endings onto a normal name is one of my current annoyances.
What are some of your favourite names?
I love so many! I tend to like underused names with a lot of history – Cecily, Leopold. Things like that.
What names do you dislike, despite your best efforts at being broad minded?
I have an irrational dislike for the etch sound. Gretchen and Fletcher are perfectly respectable names, but all I hear is wretch.
Are there any names you love, but could never use?
Most of my favourites have been vetoed. It’s tragic, really. But the art of naming is also inextricably intertwined with the art of compromise. I feel lucky that I got to use two names that I find exciting and meaningful.
What are your favourite names in the US Top 100?
Charlotte (#19) is a true-love name for me, and one that my other half obsesses over, but my own vanity couldn’t get over its popularity. Sebastian (#64) is also gorgeous, I’m glad to see people pick up on it.
What are your favourite names in the rest of the US Top 1000?
There are so many! People are discovering some great names, and using them. There’s Rosemary (#603), Theodore (#197), Adelaide (#343). Do Australians call their daughters Adelaide? Answer: Yes! Adelaide is #232 in New South Wales and #598 in Victoria.
What is your favourite name that has never charted in the US?
What are your children’s names?
Beatrix and Eulalie.
If you found out you were pregnant right now, what would be the first names you would think about using for the baby?
Currently loving Marguerite and Arthur.
Have you and your husband ever disagreed while choosing baby names together? How compatible are your tastes in names?
When haven’t we disagreed? He loves names like Domino and Alabama. I want names that would wear well on a queen.
What is something we don’t know about you?
When I was born, my fourth toe was longer than my middle toe. They look pretty normal now, but I still get teased about it.
What advice would you give to someone who was choosing a baby name?
Envision your 16-year-old asking one day why you chose their name. What will you answer?
(The photo is of Elisabeth with her girls, from You Can’t Call It “It”!)