The Queen Becomes a Great-Grandmother Again!

Mike and Zara

The Queen's granddaughter, equestrienne Zara Tindall, has given birth to another little girl, Lena Elizabeth Tindall, a sister to Mia Grace, with her husband rugby player Mike Tindall. And they have also confirmed they are pronouncing it "LAY-na" instead of "LEE-na".

On My Mind: 6-27-18

Edwige Feuillère

La Révolution française - I've been watching the two part film ("La Révolution française: les Années lumière" and "La Révolution française: les Années terribles") about the French revolution that came out in 1989 on Youtube (first part here) and greatly enjoying it. It is so far historically accurate and very educational while also being entertaining, something most films and books fail to do when dealing with such content matter. 

The cast is very pan-European and have some very interesting names. History + historically accurate costumes + interesting names = a winner for me! Below are some of the ones I like the most (I put who they played in parenthesis, as many of those are beautiful as well, or more unusual than the actor's names).

Andrezj Seweryn (Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre)
Vittorio Mezzogiorno (Jean-Paul Marat)
Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu (Charlotte Corday)
Liliane Rovère (A woman)
Klaus Maria Brandauer (Georges Danton)
Peter Ustinov (Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Count of Mirabeau)
Jean-Yves Berteloot (Count Axel Fersen)
Claudia Cardinale (Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchess of Polignac)
François Cluzet (Camille Desmoulins)
Marion Grimault (Louison Chabry)
Véronique Leblanc (Rosalie Lamorlière)
Raphaëline Goupilleau (Mme Drouet)

Two Surnames? - I really enjoyed this article by Mayim Bialik talking about her choice to not only keep her last name after marriage, but to give her children both hers and her husband's surnames. It's something I've thought about a lot myself, and can definitely imagine doing the same as her in the future, but also understand women who don't choose to pass on their names just as much. 

I've never been particularly fond of my surname - it's not the most pleasing to the ear, or on paper, for that matter - but something about passing it on greatly appeals to me. I'd love to hear from those who chose to hyphenate, or use their maiden name, or came up with something else entirely (ala Swedish actors Noomi and Ola Rapace, who took a new surname together)!

Edwige, Hedwig, and Jadwiga - Back onto French names. I've always fancied Edwige - pronounced "ED-VEEZH" - the French form of Germanic Hedwig. Hedwig comes from the elements hadu, which means "battle, combat", and wig which means "war", making this a very strong name. I love Germanic names - they're sharp and clunky and even if they're not the prettiest they have an undeniable strength. The German pronunciation is also my favorite - "HET-vikh". There was a 13th century Saint named Hedwig who was the wife of a Polish Duke name Henry the Bearded, and this was also the name of a Polish Queen, but in the form of Jadwiga.

Zalie - I didn't really pay too much attention to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, mostly because I felt it had all been beat to death way before anything actually happened so I'm a little behind on everything. I just found out the youngest bridesmaid was Harry's goddaughter - Zalie Warren. I'm assuming it's just a version of  Zélie, a diminutive of Azélie, which is getting more and more popular in France every year. Interestingly enough, Zalie also has a twin sister named India, but she wasn't a bridesmaid because Harry isn't her godfather.

Brigitte Nielsen Welcomes Baby Girl!


Danish actress and model, best known for playing the title role in "Red Sonja" and "Rocky IV", has given birth at age fifty-four to a girl with her husband, Mattia Dessi. They have called her Frida. She has four other children, Julian Winding, Killian Marcus Gastineau, and Douglas Aaron and Raoul, Jr. Meyer.


Tamara Karsavina
Origin: Russian
Gender: Female
Meaning: "Date palm"
Pronunciation: ta-MARR-ah, TAM-ah-ruh
Other forms: Tamar, Tammara, Tamera, Thamar, Tamari

This beautiful Russian name has almost worldwide appeal, being used in Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Italian, and Spain, just to name a few, and a rich history that lends it an almost classic appeal. Tamara comes from Biblical Tamar, a Hebrew name meaning "date palm".

The fruit of the date palm, also know as the Phoenix dactylifera, have been a staple food in the diets of the Middle East and Indus Valley for thousands of years. In Ancient Rome they used the palm fronds from this plant to symbolize victory in triumphal processions, and renderings of these plants can even be seen in frescoes from Pompeii. And for a fun little factoid dates are referenced fifty times in the Bible; twenty times in Qur'an.

The story in the Bible is as dramatic as any soap opera, but I'll try to sum it up fairly quickly - Tamar marries Judah's eldest son Er, but because he is wicked he is killed by God. Tamar then marries his second son, Onan, but he too is wicked and killed. Judah feels that Tamar might be cursed and is thus hesitant to give up his last son, Shelah, to her. So he asks her to wait until Shelah grows older, which she does readily and inn the meantime Judah's wife dies. Judah decides to travel to Timnah to shear his sheep and Tamar, disappointed in Judah for still not giving her Shelah, disguises herself as a prostitute in the hopes to conceive a child of the line of Judah.

Judah falls for it.

He pays for her with a goat, secured by his staff, seal, and cord. Three months later she is accused of prostitution for she is now visibly pregnant. Judah sentences her to be burned to death, but Tamar is clever, and shows him the staff and the seal and the cord of the man who was the father of the child, and he recognizes it as his own. It has a happy ending with Tamar giving birth to twin boys, Perez and Zerah, with Perez being identified as a ancestor of King David's, and in Ethiopic tradition, King of Persia.

There have been several famous Tamara's - prima ballerina and actress Tamara Toumanova, Israeli Olympian Tamara Metal, Soviet fighter-pilot Tamara Pamyatnykh, and artist Tamara de Lempicka to just name a few.

Pictured above is another prima ballerina, Tamara Karsavina, who was not only considered one of the greatest dancers of her time (her prime rival being Anna Pavlova), but also a great beauty. She also played the title role in "Thamar", a form of her own name, which is used in the Greek and Latin forms of the Bible. Another ballerina from her company, Lydia Sokolova, described her thus: “Tamara Karsavina was one of the rare dancers who gripped your attention whether you were watching her from the stage, from the wings or from the front of the house. I could not bear to miss any movement she made, and was sometimes so reluctant to stop watching her from the wings when I should have been changing my costume, that I was nearly late for my entrance.”

Free to a Good Home: Boys, pt. 1

"Ferdinand lured by Ariel" by John Everett Millais
Ferdinand - 
Origin: Germanic
Gender: Male
Meaning: "Brave voyager"
Pronunciation: FUR-di-nand
Other forms: Fernand, Ferran, Ferdinando, Ferdynand, Hernando, Nándor/ Ferdinanda, Fernande
Combos: Percy Ferdinand, Jasper Ferdinand, Ferdinand Xavier, Ferdinand Poe

I think this name is regal and handsome, and has a wonderful meaning along with a great history, having been used by both Shakespeare and royalty alike. Ferdinand came from Ferdinando, an old Spanish form of a Germanic name made up of the elements fardi, "journey", and nand, which meant "brave" or "daring". Put together more poetically it's "brave voyager". Ferdinand hasn't ranked in the US since 1971, when it was way at the bottom at #984.  This name first truly struck me when I saw actor Sir Ben Kingsley used it for one of his sons (the other two are named Thomas Alexis and Edmund), who is also an actor and most famously plays Charles Elmé Francatelli on "Victoria".

Soren -
Origin: Danish
Gender: Male
Meaning: "Stern"
Pronunciation: SOR-in
Other forms: Severus, Severinus, Severin, Seweryn, Severino
Combos: Nathaniel Soren, Soren Tobias, Soren Fox, Marcus Soren

This name has quite an interesting and for me, unexpected origin. Soren (Søren if you're Danish or Norwegian, Sören if you're Swedish or German) comes from Severinus, the ancient Roman family name, which itself came from the name Severus, meaning "stern" in Latin. To people outside of English speaking countries it is pronounced a variety of ways: SIR-en, SUU-ren, or ZUU-ren, which I find all very pleasing to the ear. Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, critic, and poet to just name a few, who lived from 1813 to 1855, and was seen as a sort of precursor to the approach of existentialism. The fact that it's used in Germany is a plus for me as it could honor my heritage, and so far this one strikes as one I might use on a child. So maybe one day this post will come back to bite me!

Marius -
Origin: Roman
Gender: Male
Meaning: "Male"
Pronunciation: MAR-ee-es, MAIR-ee-es
Other forms: Mars, Mario, Marios, Marijo, Marijus, Mariusz
Combos: Marius Oleander, Marius Theron, Marius Bail, Victor Marius

One thing I really love about this name is that it is sometimes used as a male form of the name Maria, something I find so fascinating and rare. Marius is an ancient Roman family name that either came from the name of the God of war, Mars, or from the Latin maris, meaning "male". Either way the meaning remains the same as Mars is thought to come from the same place. I also like how Marius is used in so many different countries, from Germany to France to Romania, which I think lends a sort of classic feeling to it. My favorite bearer of this name is Marius Pontmercy from Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables". Another interesting namesake is that of Crown Princess Mette-Marit's first born son, Marius Borg Høiby, whom she had before marrying Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway.

On My Mind: 6-20-18

"Summer" by Henrietta R. Rae

Harpa - Summer is my least favorite season. Here in Texas it's oppressively hot -just stepping outside makes me break into a full blown sweat - and because of that I want to stay constantly indoors in the vicinity of the nearest fan. But I've always thought the name Summer was pretty, ever since I was little and I met an older girl with the name. Unfortunately nowadays it reads more 90's than fresh - but that doesn't mean you're out of options.

I stumbled across an interesting one - Harpa - which was ranked #12 in Iceland in 2015. Harpa was the name given to the first summer month in the old Icelandic calendar, which divided the year into winter and summer, both of which have six months. Where the name Harpa comes from exactly is debated; some believe it's the name of a pre-Christian Goddess, though there's not much to confirm that theory. If you're interested in more summery names check out my previous post here.

Camellia + Thoreau + More - My sister recently bought the new game "Vampyr". We're big fans of anything vampire related and the premise is intriguing - you play as a newly created vampire who also happens to be a doctor in the Spanish flu epidemic that lasted from 1918 to 1920. There's tons of great names, too. Below are some of my favorites.



Yael Stone Welcomes Baby Girl

Yael Stone
Australian Actress Yael Stone has given birth to her first child, a girl, with husband, actor Dan Spielman. They've named her Pemau, and in a statement said this about the name: "She was named after her great great great grandmother who provides a powerful link to the past, the Bancrofts' oldest link to the Djanbun clan of the Bunjalung nation."  The Bunjalung people are a tribe of Aboriginal Australians.