Please help me! We are expecting our first baby, a little girl, October 1st, 2010. Naming her has been a major part of my life for the past 36 weeks. I am a self proclaimed name nerd. I have known just about every name under the sun, as well as their meanings and origins, since I was 10. Names are a giant passion of mine. This makes naming my first child a great excitement, as well as a HUGE burden. I have a very defined name style, which in my opinion is pretty much summed up by three words (although others may not completely agree): Edgy, Sophisticated, and Glamorous.
Our first choice for a name for our baby has been Sophia Natalia Olson. Sophia after my great-grandmother (and the gorgeous Sophia Loren), and Natalia is my favorite version of my name, Natalie (I don't want to use Natalie, though). DH and I really like this name, but I'm starting to have second thoughts. While Sophia is sophisticated and glamorous, it is not edgy... in fact it is losing it's luster a little considering how common it has become. Or am I imagining this? I also think it's important to have back up names in case she doesn't look like Sophia when she is born. Don't get me wrong, I still really like this name....
Other names we like are (we would use either Natalia or Sophia for a middle name):
Eva - pronounced EY-va, we really don't like EE-va. This is also sophisticated but very common, and not very edgy.
Eve - a little more edgy, but not very glamorous. I adore the nickname Evie. Unfortunately, when Eve is said with Olson it sounds like "evil son"
Zoa - I think I like this a lot, but I'm not sold on it. I normally really dislike Zoe because it seems too "out there" for my taste, but Zoa seems a little classier and cooler.
Elle - I really like this, but it sounds odd with Olson. Due to a family feud, I can't use Ella, and I can't stand the thought of people calling her Ellie, but I love Elle.
Shiloh - I think this is adorable for a girl. Unfortunately, I got ahead of myself and named our male dog this two years ago. Plus, my sister-in-law claimed it for her daughter someday despite it being our dogs name.
Noa - I love how fresh this name is. It has been the Number 1 girl name in Israel for a long time. Don't confuse it with the boy name Noah, they are two completely different names with different origins and meanings. Too bad she would be confused for a boy her whole life in America :(
Arabella - I was set on naming her this a few months ago, but I quickly grew tired of how frilly it sounds. Plus Bella is super common again.
I really appreciate your expertise and advice. I need all the help I can get, plus I'm running out of time!!
Normally I think changing a spelling doesn't help much to make a name fresh (Madysyn, for example, is if anything LESS fresh than Madison), but there are respellings and then there are alternate spellings, and in the case of Sophia I think the alternate spelling Sofia puts edge back into it---mostly because of Sofia Coppola. A downside is that it is then no longer your great-grandmother's spelling.
The name Eva---are you saying you'd like people to pronounce it the same as Ava? I think it would be possible, but extremely wearying: either people will say it EE-va or they will spell it Ava, and there will be a steady stream of new people to explain it to. Especially since you actively dislike the usual pronunciation EE-va, I suggest using the usual spelling Ava, or else taking this one off the list.
Another I'd take off the list is Elle: it has a family feud closely associated with it, and it would be hard to avoid the nickname Ellie: even if you talked everyone else out of using it, she might choose to use it herself.
If you like Evie but feel reluctant to use Eve, I suggest Genevieve with the nickname Evie.
So! Hm, is it "helpful" per se to have me shooting down one option after another?
I'd say the best candidate from your list is your first choice, and I'd be torn about which spelling to use: Sofia seems like much more what you're looking for, but I'm super-hesitant to lose the family spelling. Since it's a great-grandmother, I think I would change the spelling: Sofia Natalia Olson looks and sounds wonderful to me.
Second choice: Genevieve Natalia Olson, with the nickname Evie.
For more options, I think I would look for names of glamorous actresses from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s:
Or you could use Harlow, which evokes Jean Harlow while giving you the sound of Shiloh. Downside: Harlow Olson might be hard to say (I mean that it is for me, but I'm not sure if others would have the same trouble).
Harlow makes me think or Marlowe/Marlo, but that might have the same pronunciation problem as Harlow.
Or Lydia? Lydia Natalia Olson.
Or Lena, or Lila.
Or Stella: Stella Natalia Olson.
Ooo, or Nora! Nora Sophia Olson.