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Penelope

I find Penelope to be just the right kind of name. It's not too frilly, it's not too plain, it's just right. It's got a historical background and famous namesakes, and it sounds fresh and fun. Plus, it has super cute nickname options: Penny, Lola, Poppy, Nellie, Pen.

I think it's safe to assume we all recognize Penelope from the Greek myth Odysseus. She patiently awaited the return of her husband, Odysseus, who went to war. Meanwhile, many suitors tried to marry her, claiming that her husband was either dead or would never come back. This is one Greek story with a happy ending, as the two were reunited and their son became a man.

Her name derives from a kind of duck, which is said to have protected her as a baby. Although, it is also possible it derives from robin, or pene, and the meaning would be "weaver," which could be accurate as Penelope was said to have spent her time weaving.

Penelope ranked at #169 in 2011 and #200 in 2010, which rose from #946 in 2001. I'm not quite sure what was responsible for such a healthy rise in popularity. It could be all the P- nicknames becoming popular, such as Poppy and Pippa, or it could be Penelope Cruz, whose popularity as a celebrity is soaring. It could even be a lingering fondness for Penny Lane, although there are still more places you may have heard the name from. There's a lot going on in the celebrity world (Penelope Athena, Tina Fey's daughter), in media, and online to keep Penelope feeling inspired. There were a total of 1,535 baby girls born in 2010 named Penelope.

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*UPDATED
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Forest

Here's one of my personal favorites, although I'm surprised I still like it after seeing Forrest Gump so often (thanks, Dad). In fact, the name peaked in popularity for the second time the year the movie was released, jumping to number #217 in 1994. Now he's on the move yet again, rising to 132 boys given the name in 2015 from a low dip to 47 in 2006. To be clear, Forest is the word spelling and Forrest the name spelling, and Forrest remains a much more popular choice with 387 boys given the name in 2015, ranking at #659. Forrest also had a dip in 2006 with only 147 births, disappearing from the charts between 2003 and 2013, and it also peaked in 1994 with 1,343 boys born, rising to #217. Historically both spelling options have been very popular.

Forest doesn't have an obvious nickname, but it's one of those names you enjoy saying without having to shorten it. Forest is Old French, meaning "woods." A famous namesake is St. John Forest of the 16th century…