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You have a terrific shortlist, I love 3/4 of them! ;) I wouldn't worry about "another C" as Celeste is a different sound altogether. Do you like Ceciliy or Cecilia? Fits right in with the sounds Celeste and Felicity, plus Cecilia has the -a ending of your other two choices (Fiona and Gemma).
So you have a fine shortlist of four. What are your feelings on each of them beyond that none is perfect? If you have a partner, does s/he have opinions that are same/different? Knowing the background dynamics may help navigate this decision.
They are both beautiful names. Another marvelous Indian crossover name is Anjuli, because it lends itself to English nicknames like Annie, Angie, and Julie. And Anjuli standalone is so similar to Angela that the name is just distinctive enough to harmonize but not disappear in an an English-speaking environment. However you would be constantly reminding "not Angela." A name which gives similar opotions is Anandi, which can be nicknamed into Annie, Ana, or Andi.
Ava is another cross-over possibility but then you're constantly going "rhymes with lava, it's a Parsi name actually." But one or two reminders will be enough for others to catch on. I have no idea if the Parsi community welcome its use on a non-Parsi girl.
As for Layla - that is my preferred spelling. Leila makes the name seem more Muslim to me, not sure if that's a plus or minus to you. Laila can be confused with the differently-pronounced name Lila.
Wow, yet another poster is pregnant with multiple girls!
I think Callum is NOT too matchy with Liam. Similar ending sure, but very different names. No problem! Other alternatives I haven't see mentioned yet are Cameron and Callahan.
I love both Heidi and Johanna and do not think it's a problem pairing them together - just sounds like you like German names, or you have German heritage. I recommend AGAINST matchy twin names unless the tie is subtle - but ethnic heritage is a lovely tie.
I agree re: your point on the long names. If you don't want nicknames, then I would strike anything that is 4 syllables from your shortlist. And if you don't want the younger set to be "the twins" you might consider names that are short. "Catalina and Phineas" are great names, but that's a long shout/email that begs shortening to Cat and Phin. On the other hand "Pierce and Carmen" you can get out in one breath, as in "Pierce and Carmen, shoes on NOW!!!"
Pierce is your only 1-syllable name, how do you feel about that plus the 2-syllable ones on your list?
I have also noted that many of your names (especially for boys) are ones that might get auto-nicknamed. If that's NOT what you want, avoid Vincent, Clayton, Edmund, Christian, etc.
Zapping long names, beg-for-nickname names, and Linus (too close to son Lewis), you have:
Amy, Carmen, Carla, Heidi
Going on pure style and no-repeat first letters....
B/B = obvious
B/G = Pierce and Carmen (both stately traditional names which go well with your first two)
G/G = ONe C name plus either Amy or Heidi. (avoid paring Amy + Heidi or Carmen + Carla)
How about Laura?
I think you may need to make some decisions on whetehr you are going for a name you both absolutely love, or one that straddles multiple heritages! That may be a tricky balance. I'm an Irish-American who has lived much of my life in Asia so I am very familiar with these sorts of issues!
I'm a bit of a broken record on this topic, but the pattern that I consistently see work well is a long name in one language that includes as a nickname a short name in the other.
I do not know China well at all, so cannot comment a lot on Chinese names. The big girl crossover names are Mei, Su, and Lin, which are pronounced identically to the English names May, Sue, and Lynn. In terms of a Bulgarian / Chinese hybrid name that also works in UK/Canada -- perhaps Katalina or other longer Eastern European name that includes the sound "lin"? Isn't the name Suzanna found in Slavic countries? Etc. A lot of Chinese names are short, so if you can pinpoint one you like, you can probably find a longer Bulgarian name that that includes that sound.
Another point is that in China, the meanings of names are a lot more important than they are in North America. So you might choose a name you like, but with a much more acute sense of its meaning/origin. One American-Chinese couple I know who met each other on a hiking trip gave their son a Chinese name that meant something along the lines of "voyager" paired with English name Miles. This was a nice way to tie together the boy's first/middle (which = his Chinese/English) names, even though they sounded totally different.
I googled the name and the birth control wasn't even the first hit! And it adopted a woman's name, NOT the other way around. My gut sense is that this is not a problem, but this is YOUR comfort zone! I think there are two separate questions:
1. Will you / your partner be embarrassed by the association? That's up to you to decide.
2. Will your daughter? On this point, brand names change all the time and it's likely that this product won't be marketed as such by the time your daughter is old enough to be aware of any association. While the opposite scenario is a possibility (i.e., that it becomes a global product) -- that is unlikely. Also, you are spelling her name differently which will diffuse some things.
I am going to bring up a comparison scenario. I happen to be a total brand-loyalist to Chantelle bras, because they perfectly fit my hard-to-fit size/shape very comfortably. They are super-duper expensive, but I know my size and can buy them in batches at 30% retail price from wholesalers on ebay. However, most people do not wear these bras every day because they are expensive and usually only in upscale shops. If I met a Chantelle, I would certainly remember her name ("oh like my bras") but I would not be fussed, because I also know that Chantelle is first and foremost a name not a lingerie company. Sort of like Victoria! So back to the question: are YOU embarrassed by this scenario?
Yes, sharing first AND last name with a famous person is too much. Over the years I have had colleagues named Steve Tyler and Phil Collins, and believe me they do NOT appreciate any rock star jokes and had to insist on Steven and Philip iin the office to try to be taken more seriously in professional settings. My brother's in-laws include both a James Brown and a Dan Brown. James goes by Jim and is white so flies under the radar a bit, but Dan has to avoid using his credit card or anything with full name on it because of stuff like waitresses noticing the name and gushing "Oh, I LOVE The Da Vinci Code!!!!" and expecting $100 tips because he's so rich (NOT). Sometimes these things happen after the fact - I know a Matt Sheppard who is NOT the man murdered in that horrific hate crime. He was named decades before the tragic murder, of course, but it is hard to have that association with your name wherever you go.
Re: Samuel Adams -- he is obscure enough a historical figure that this isn't a big deal, except for the beer. Non-Americans: Sam Adams was an American Revolutionary War figure and a beer brewer, and there is a brand of beer called Sam Adams. Definitely a good idea to NOT name your kid an alcoholic beverage.
I think Veronica is an Italian name! Well, she was a saint.... so you are going to find variants of that name all over. One of the Veronicas I know is Indonesian. I though I would chime in that I love and adore the name Veronica, traditional but fresh. And I think Elizabeth is a boring and dime-a-dozen name. Not that there is anything wrong with it if YOU like it, but I wanted to add a pro-Veronica voice here! Splendid name!
Please do NOT give twins matchy-matchy names. No, no, no. While b/g twins are less of an inevitable pairing in others' eyes, it's best to carve out space for them to be their own individuals. Also, you don't want matchy-twin names that leave out the older sister who will forever be the not-twin. If you do want a pattern of some sort, it's best to find one that doesn't exclude her.
Can you give us some more info on what they like in names?
If they DO want a pattern, Maia is from Greek mythology and Eve derives from Eva, which is the Latin form of the woman in the Hebrew Bible (Havah). Perhaps they could mine figures from other ancient legends (religious or otherwise) or go with the whole ancient Greek/Roman thing. Julius, Cato?
My Little Pony turns out to be freaking hilarious, if you have a little girl and a beer with you. It's never NOT a show for little girls (in the way that Simpsons is not really a kid show), but they drop in all sorts of adult humor and it is funny and clever and very campy. I also think it's a great show for little kids. At first I was like 'oh UGH what is this pink sparkle pony crap' but it is actually very girl-power, and the show is from front to finish about having healthy relationships and solving problems and full of good messages for kids. I approve, and it's officially endorsed on the Mighty Girl website which promotes books, shows, toys etc which empower girls.
Also highly recommended: A Brony Tale, a hilarious documentary about the bronies, i.e.., adult straight men who love My Little Pony. Yes this is truly a thing and they have an annual convention that I almost took my daughter to last summer (John de Lancie always appears!). And their merchandise is freaking hilarious.
OMG. How did I not know that my favorite Star Trek character was actually generated on Days of Our Lives.
Yes, John de Lancie. I misremembered his name. That's the guy. I can't stop laughing.
a-HA! That's why I remember the character Calliope but not any storyline: that wasn't my soap opera! But yes definitely a memorable character. But what is intriguing me now is.... what is this re: Q??? This isn't the same all-powerful time-traveling guy named Q (who usually lived in another dimension) who was a wildly fun recurrning character on Star Trek: The Next Generation!?!?! And back to kids: Q lives on in the reboot of My Little Pony as Dischord, and they even got John Laramie (who plays Q on STar Trek) to voice that role. It makes me laugh out loud every time he pops up, although not as much as when the ponies go to the Equestria bowling alley to get philosophical advice from the entire cast of The Big Lebowski. Yes, they are a herd of ponies, all of them, and they bowl. The Dude's full name is Jeff Letrotski.
I am having a sneaking suspicion that Lujack is an '80s screenwriter's mash-up of Lucky Luciano. Lujack was very dark, Italian or Latino, from the wrong side of the tracks and everyone assumed (and treated him like) bad news but his blondie rich good-girl love Beth always knew he had a heart of gold but everyone always conspired to keep them apart. Trajédie. But then they would get back together and make out on the beach.
I am smiling a bit because I have been worried lately about the junk TV my daughter likes, and now I am reminded that my tween years revolved around Guiding Light and I still turned out to be an Ivy League PhD wielding feminist! Thanks, all.
Most of the soap operas are off the air including GL, but I think one or two are still around. In related news, I heard that the entirety of the gloriously terrible 1980s mini-series North and South is now on youtube. I will have to binge-watch Patrick Swayze in skin-tight grey trousers lose the Civil War next time I have a sick day. Ha ha ha ha.
Leo and Nico are both perfectly valid standalone names. You do NOT need a "full" name unless you want them. That said.... Lionel is another great way to get to Leo. There is also the Italian/Spanish name Elio. As for Nico, there are lots of variants on Nicholas and you might find one you like better. You could also go flashy with Copernicus or something! But Nico on its own is great.
If you like Elliott but wnat something with a single spelling: Everett? Emmett?
I too dislike Finn (it sounds like a fish part to me) but am a big fan of similar names that are not fishy. Flynn has already been suggested (so cool!!!!), there is also Flint which might be a great match since you seem to like names that end in T. Flint has kind of a nature-cowboy feel to it.
I don't think anyone has yet suggested Wim? It's a nickname for William that is used in parts of Europe. I think of it as a Dutch name but could be wrong aout that. It looks like you're dancing around Winn - William -- Liam names so I thought I'd put it out there. There is also Willem, Wilhelm, and other variants. Also names that end in "win" - Edwin and so forth.
You like Holden but he is indifferent. How about Alden or Walden or Hudson?
If your husband is the picky one who tends to reject everything, how about making HIM compose a shortlist of a dozen or so names and then see which ones YOU like. And if you don't like any of them, list them here and we can help brainstorm alternatives that have similar vibe but hopefully you like better.
I think Snow works perfectly fine. It's offbeat and unusual, but not goofy. While Snow is definitely a nature name, it's also a surname. Expect a lot of Snow White stuff when she's 4, but whatever. My two cents: I gave my daughter a rare first name, but intentionally paired it with a middle name which is very familiar, just in case she desperately wants a "normal" name when she hits 12.
Rollo sounds... chubby to me. Like a very fat cat's call name, whereas his full name is Sir Roly-Poly. I do like Roland enormously though.
Ha ha ha re: cat named Drogo. Totally my favorite saint: he is the patron of coffee. His superpower was that he could go to mass and still do other stuff at the same time. This is someone from another ethereal plane who I want to stay on very good terms with.
I think that avoiding really matchy-matchy name sets is a good idea, but you don't necessarily want "not Evelyn" to drive you away from other favorite names.
If what you like is Ada, then just name her Ada! No need for the full Adeline, Ada is a full name by itself. Or if you do want something longer, Adelaide or Adella are both beautiful.
As for Adeline and Corinne - how are you pronouncing? adel-EEN / cor-EEN or more rhymey with Evelyn, i.e., ade-LIN / co-RIN? You can also get a little bit farther from Evelyn by adding an A to the end, i.e., Corrina/Adelina. Do you like Cora, Coral, etc?
If Jocelyn is too close to Evelyn.... how about Josephine, Jolene, or Celine instead?