Top Hipster Baby Names of 2016 Probably

The third annual list not based on any official data. It’s just what I think you should have named your baby this year.

It’s still a little early for the Social Security Administration to release its list of the top baby names of 2016, but you can read this instead.

11. Fisher

Hipsters and non-hipsters alike pay homage to Carrie Fisher’s legacy while acknowledging that “Carrie” is a real so-so name for a kid. Unless it’s a boy-kid. Then go nuts with that “Carrie” business. “Leia” is an excellent substitute if you don’t want your child to be known as “Fishy” or “Care-Bear” all through high school.

10. Lillet

It’s an aperitif I tried for the first time tonight. It’s pretty good. Like a fancy Muscatel. “Egg Nog” is an acceptable alternative, as is “Kirkland Signature.”img_3942

9. Vladimir

A bold choice that’s sure to pay off in coming years.

8. Dandelion

Beating “Kale” for the first time, enjoy this fresh take on classic hipster greens!

7. Rocket

Named for the kind of arugula, not for the engine. More kick-ass than “Dandelion” without being as on-the-nose as “Kale.” Just do me a favor and don’t name your kid “Chard,” okay? It’s a combination of “Chad” and “Shart,” neither of which are appropriate names for a human.

6. Old-Timey Typewriter

Pretty self-explanatory.

5. Zoloft

It’s been a rough year, but you’re still here.

4. Football

You want to love it, you really do. But can’t quite get the bat off your shoulder. You’d use an appropriate football metaphor instead of “get the bat off your shoulder,” but you don’t know any.

3. Pillow

Probably named after one of the Palin kids, but who can even remember the 2008 election cycle at this point? It’s a name that harkens back to a more innocent time, one way or the other.

2. Raytheon

Because “Monsanto” is played out. But you’re still kind of winking at it, you know?

1. Patriarchy

It goes great with any last name and ensures that your child can be the front-person for an indy band: Patriarchy Jones. Patriarchy Muñoz. Patriarchy Pence. Patriarchy Langsdorf. Say them aloud. Listen to their power. This is the name of a winner.

Regaining Hipster Cred: 12 Steps Back, 5 Leaps Forward

I’m not gonna lie; I’ve been in danger of losing my hipster status as I slowly moved into Regular Mom Territory. I think I’m back.

When the term “hipster” started being applied to me in about 2008, I was perhaps the only person on earth to embrace the title. Of course, denial of one’s own hipster status is one of the universally acknowledged criteria for hipsterdom, so I was already on pretty thin (locally sourced, artisanal) ice. But I was so flattered to be seen as hip and/or young! Over the last several years, my hipster identity started to slip. Here, in no particular order, are the things that have happened since 2009 that made me think about changing the name of my blog to just “Mother,” or whatever iteration thereof hadn’t already been claimed by the Internet.

  1. I stopped relying entirely on public transportation and my bike. I purchased a used 2002 VW Jetta.
  2. I stopped acting. More about that decision here.
  3. I settled into a full-time job in arts administration. This is less hipster than my previous full-time job doing administrative work for tech companies because arts administration made me feel like as long I was facilitating the production of art, I didn’t really have to make any art of my own. When I was an accounting assistant at Defense Technology Or Whatever Incorporated LLC, you can bet your sweet patoot I was out of the office and on my way to rehearsal at 6 p.m. When I worked in the arts full time, I ate/slept/breathed my job. I had good health insurance. That’s not hip.
  4. I stopped smoking. Please note that I’d been smoking American Spirits, which rival only Parliament Lights in hipster cred.
  5. I started walking with a cane. It’s a stylish cane, but that first old-lady cane with the pink roses on it from CVS was a real humdinger. (Which actually ended up working for me––Plenty of people thought I was using it ironically. Yay?)
  6. We bought a house, moving out of our c. 1925 apartment in the cool part of Capitol Hill and into a ranch house in the affordable part of Hyattsville.
  7. I stopped buying clothes at thrift stores, as there was no Goodwill by my new suburban home. I started shopping in the maternity section at Target.
  8. I had a baby.
  9. I dressed that baby in predominantly unhip clothing, leaning instead towards a wardrobe that was cheap or free. Circo hand-me-downs all day, son!
  10. I kept wearing my Liz Lang Maternity collection, because I’m not gonna spend all that money on clothes that I’ll only wear for four months. Plus, once you embrace jeans with elastic waistbands, it’s real hard to go back to the oppression of standard denim.
  11. Andy and I stopped podcasting, instead spending our free time living with our child.
  12. After the well-worn Jetta broke all the way down (on the side of the road, at midnight, with our 8-month-old in the back seat), Andy and I bought a brand-new Honda CRV. It has room for Charlie’s future sports equipment in the back.

So there I was, in my maternity jeans, driving my SUV from my office job to my suburban home, clinging to my chunky glasses frames for dear life. BUT DON’T WORRY:

  1. A year ago, I left my longtime employer and started freelancing as a writer/copy editor/social media consultant while I finished up my M.F.A. in creative writing.
  2. As such, I spent most of the last year being a semi-impoverished grad student.
  3. Just under two weeks ago, we moved into our cozy c. 1925 apartment in the cool part of L.A…
  4. …So that I can pursue writing full time. I’m that girl working on her pilot with her laptop at the independently run artisanal coffee shop in Eagle Rock.
  5. I smoked three Parliament Lights on my new balcony. Don’t yell at me. They were awesome (and then disgusting).

I haven’t gotten any younger, and youth is an asset to any would-be hipster. However, I think I can classify myself as at least an “aging hipster” without running into a branding problem.

In conclusion, if you’d had concerns over the last year or so that this blog wasn’t meeting your hipster needs, let me assure you that the record player is up and running, and that we just moved in across the street from a vinyl store. Plus a used book shop, a sassily named antiques place, 17 coffee bars, a few regular bars, a fish taco stand, and a Jack In the Box.

Two tacos for 99 cents. I’m living my best life.


DON’T WORRY. I’m obviously taking my child to art installations as I strengthen my hipster cred. He might even be the first owner of the non-Target-brand shirt featured in this picture.

A Failed Bucket List For a Soon-to-be-Former Washingtonian

We’re moving back to Los Angeles. Soon. Like soon enough that my chances of completing my “1000 Things to Do In D.C. Before I Die” is looking pretty grim. At summer’s outset, when a fall move back to L.A. was officially decided upon, my list began to take form.

  1. Take Charlie to the Air & Space Museum
  2. Take Charlie to the College Park Aviation Museum.
  3. Go see Hamilton on Broadway. Not a D.C. thing, but L.A. will not have $13 Bolt Bus rides to Penn Station.
  4. Bring Charlie to Fredericksburg like 12 weekends in a row so he could play with various cousins and doting adult relatives.
  5. Eat dinner at Jaleo with Andy. We’ve been meaning to. Small plates! Iberian-style! With octopus! It would be like our favorite thing.
  6. See a burlesque show at that place on H street. (Wait– Just looked it up. The Palace of Wonders, later renamed Red Palace, closed at the beginning of 2013. Double-damn!)
  7. Have a quality Sunday brunch with each of my beloved D.C.-area friends and colleagues. (Maybe at the Red Palace! Wait–)
  8. Host a swingin’ house-cooling party, for more quality time with beloved D.C.-area friends and colleagues.
  9. Read all my Real Simple and Sunset Magazines, which I’ve just been putting in a beautiful stack since Charlie was born.
  10. Bike trail!
  11. Take Charlie on the recently restored carousel at historic Glen Echo Park.
  12. Have a beer with Joe Biden.
  13. Get invited to a State Dinner. I don’t even care if it’s for a country known for their great food.
  14. Spot a bald eagle in my neighborhood, close enough to take an identifiable picture of it.
  15. Have happy hour at McClellan’s Retreat, because California will never favor me with a bar whose name is a one-percenter Civil War joke.
  16. IMG_2316

    This is a for real boundary stone, right? I found it in Friendship Heights. It’s a stone marking the District boundary, so I feel like even if it’s not official, it should get me points somehow. UPDATE: This is way too fancy to be original.

    Find all the District boundary stones. (I think I found one on my way home from the doctor’s last week, so just like 39 to go!)

  17. Take a solo trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. My previous visits have been tours with colleagues or youthful field trips wherein I had to keep my shit together. I just want to not tell anyone where I’m going one Tuesday morning and spend some time sobbing by the confiscated shoes.
  18. Eat everything delicious. Ben’s Chili Bowl was once high on this list, but Bill Cosby’s muraled face smiles at me every time I walk by. While that used to be charming, these days it puts me in no mood for a half-smoke.
  19. Go get my nose pierced with my friend Cynthia, like we swore a year ago (over wine) that we would.

As the summer has taken shape, my revised bucket list has become much smaller:

  1. Have literally 11 vein-repair surgeries on my legs, plus some ultrasounds to make sure said surgeries are working.
  2. Rest between those surgeries and allow you, my beloved D.C.-area friends and colleagues, to come over and drink wine with me in the evenings. Double points if you bring a casserole or entertain my child.
  3. Yard sale to end all yard sales! (This Saturday, August 20th. If you know me in real life, come on over and take four book cases, two sofas, two futons, and ~150 theatre books off my hands. I’ll provide the wine, and I’ll give you a sweet deal. Like probably free.)

The comparison between these two lists kind of makes me want to drink myself into a coma and pass out on the steps of Smithsonian Castle. But I do have a pretty goddamned great list of the things I’ve done while I lived here:

  1. Worked on a U.S. Congressional campaign (from that time my cousin Adam ran as the Democratic candidate in VA-1).
  2. Visited all the Smithsonian museums, sometimes even getting paid to give tours.
  3. Lived on Capitol Hill. Like right on Maryland Avenue, no foolin’.
  4. Lived in Arlington, close enough to the National Cemetery (during the Bush administration) to hear taps in the still of the morning more often than felt reasonable.
  5. Been invited to the White House, as a guest, to greet a foreign dignitary. Therefore: Have occupied the same space as President Obama and (at the time) Secretary Clinton. I took pictures. It was great.
  6. Have on two separate occasions been close enough to Defense Secretary Colin Powell that I could have grabbed his butt. I OBVIOUSLY DIDN’T, but both times it crossed my mind that I theoretically COULD.
  7. Been in a room with Joe Biden. Too far away  for us to lock eyes and recognize our shared humanity, but still good.
  8. Stood at the foot of every major monument and felt feelings of awe and patriotism and purpose and responsibility.
  9. Visited the Korean War Memorial at night enough times.
  10. Spotted senators and cabinet members in neighborhood restaurants. (Usually it was Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and usually he was wearing a bolo tie.)
  11. Birthed a baby at Sibley Memorial Hospital! That’s an advanced achievement.
  12. Lived, for a brief time, in the attic of a house in Alexandria that was older than the whole country. (Just by a couple years. It smelled like Revolution up in there.)
  13. Commuted on my bike through the Capitol grounds and down Pennsylvania Avenue. (I never managed to ride the bike back UP Capitol Hill, though. That was a life goal that I couldn’t quite manage at the end of any given work day.)
  14. Soaked in so many of the moments, saying to myself or to Andy, “How is this our life?”

Washington and its surrounding environs has been wonderful to us, and now it’s time for what’s next.

Top Hipster Baby Boy Names of 2015 Probably

There at few things I love more than a good year-end round-up. Let’s be frank: It’s way easier to name a girl something bold and unique than it is to come up with a winning handle for a son. We are all of us obligated to name our child Matthew David Lastname, or face the ire of the grandparents. Based on skilled research,* here are the top hipster baby names of the year. Which is to say, here’s what I think you should have named your son this year. 

1. Hercules. Cuz of that obscure historic figure featured in Hamilton, which we liked before it moved from The Public to the Richard Rogers. 

2. Hamilton. Kinda serious on this one. Kinda want to have another son right now so I can name him Hamilton. 

3. John. Who could be so bold in this age of Aidens and Braydons and Hadens and Paytons and Masons and Hudsons and Hansons and Mansons to just go ahead and name their kid John? You, that’s who. 

4. Mansion. Sounds hot. Sounds monied. Sounds like what all your friends are naming their kids, but better.

5. Pericles. Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production at the Folger Shakespeare Library was well-reviewed, as will be this name for your bouncing baby boy. Call him Perry, or Rick, or Rick Perry. 

6. Bucharest. Just sounds nice. And it’s a conversation starter about your after-college humanitarian work.

7. Alabaster. It’s the name that’s been at the tip of your brain, but that you weren’t able to come up with until this year.

8. Forklift. Pay homage to your working-class roots with this creative-class name. 

9. Melodica. Because Banjo is pretty 2014. 

10. Viscount. Do you pronounce the s? No one will know but you and your son. This will be your special bond. 

11. Manchester. Call him Manny or Chester while showing support for your favorite football team, be it City or United. 

12. Zephyr. Z-names are hot right now. 

13. Zzyzx. Z-names are hot right now.

14. Luigi. After Pirandello and/or Mario’s co-plumber. 

15. Matchbox. Just say it out loud a couple times. Nice, right?

16. Folly. Remind your child of your feelings towards his conception with this jaunty title. Remember: “Folly” rhymes with “jolly.”

* methodology includes making shit up 

A Social Media Strategy, in Brief

Facebook is too immediate. Facebook is your Aunt Sheryll, stating without irony that she missed a dose of her medication and as a result will have to go in for minor surgery Thursday morning. Twitter, though, hangs on for dear life to its identity as the Internet’s cocktail party. It’s your Gen-X friends, the ones who were too cool to hang out with you in high school, fully self-aware and self-disparaging. Yes, their marriage is falling apart. Yes, their book deal fell through. Yes, primary season isn’t going the way they’d like. But by God, they’ve got 140 characters and a punchline to sail her by. 
Let’s all drink to Twitter. 

Behold My Folly: Grad School Edition

I started my MFA in Creative Writing today, because I clearly hate myself. 

It seemed like a good idea when I applied. In fact, it still seems like a great idea, for someone with a different life. Have you noticed, as I have, the rate at which these blog posts have dropped off, at a rate that coincides with the number of forks Charlie has thrown at my eye? Have you noticed, as I have, that I’ve stopped showering on the weekends because I can’t figure out where to schedule it? Have you, like me, been having recurrent stress dreams about my job, wherein everyone in my department has to have programming meetings on a tropical isle while a hurricane comes in and also my parents want to talk about feelings and I don’t know where Charlie is and I forgot to wear pants and am trying to maintain a professional demeanor while acting like this strategically placed beach towel is totally what I meant to wear today and what do you mean I’m in this musical number I haven’t even read the script yet?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you might have been able to tell me that graduate school is a fool’s errand. In fact, many of you have told me this very thing, but I’ve long thought that having a master’s degree is the only sure-fire way to temper my self-loathing. 
In one year’s time, I will officially be Good Enough. 
(Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!)
Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted. 
Meanwhile, Charlie plots my demise. Like he even needs to put any effort into it. 

Top 11 Hipster Baby Names of 2014 Probably

It’s still a little early for the Social Security Administration to release its list of the top baby names of 2014, but it’s never too early for Hipster Mother to release the list of the top hipster baby names of 2014. These aren’t based on any official data; these are just what I think you should have named your baby this year.

11. Kerrigold

You just can’t get enough of that unsalted butter. You might not stick with the Paleo thing, but this simple luxury will be with you for the next 18 years, at least. You call her Kerri or Goldie for short.

10. Milliner

You’re bringing classic hats back in a big way. If it’s a girl, you call her Millie. For boys, go with Mill.

9. Isis

You spend a lot of time talking about how actually she’s named after the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage, and motherhood; friend to artisans, sinners, and slaves. Or maybe you’re just trying to get an early start on your kid’s SEO. Either way, it’s a bold choice.

8. Monsanto

But you’re kinda winking at it, you know?

7. Marzipan

Like the character from Homestar Runner, and like the delicious almond paste that’s the star of any box of See’s candies.

6. Steven

With a “v” instead of a “ph,” it’s like your hand slipped on the keyboard while you were trying to name your son “Seven.” But it didn’t slip. You planned this, just like you planned the pregnancy.

5. Burgundy

Because you like a fine wine and early modern European history.

4. Schrödinger

A shortened form of “Schrödinger’s Fetus,” the original nickname for your child from the weeks when you felt like you might be pregnant but it was still too early to take a pregnancy test.

3. Asterisk

A name for a girl or a boy. Either way, they get to sign their name with a tiny star for life.

2. Harbinger

You call him “Bing” for short.

1. Helvetica

Right? This is a great name for a baby. Use it in good health.