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Brangelina. Kimye. "Combined names" are a key step in becoming a celebrity "it" couple. But regular people all over the U.S. are doing the same thing. And making it legal.

I recently read about the phenomenon of married couples legally taking a smushed-together — or otherwise completely invented — version of their last names. Smith and Johnson become the Smithsons, for example. I started asking around: Had anyone else heard of this?

Turns out, a ton of people had. Almost everyone I asked knew a couple who had done it officially, done it unofficially, or at least thought about it.


It might sound kind of odd, but there are a lot of great reasons modern couples choose to do something like this — everything from gender equality (FTW!) to giving the kids a fresh family identity to make their own.

Here are eight forward-thinking, creative, and diverse couples who chose to use a combined name, and why they did it.

1. Carla Cole + Brian Martin = the Latimers

Photo by Carla Latimer, used with permission.

These two turned to an unlikely tool when they decided to combine names: an anagram generator.

"We wanted a family name to share with the kids," Carla says. She says they almost had guests at their wedding vote on their top five favorite names. Instead, they wound up choosing on their own.

"We dropped our middle birth names, moved our maiden names to our middle names, and added the new last name," she says.

And lived happily ever after.

2. Blair Eckenrode + Megan Christensen = the Eckensens

Photo by Shawnee/A Lovely Photo, used with permission

When Eckenrode and Christensen got married, they had some understandably complicated feelings about the institution.

Questioning the long upheld standards of marriage gave the couple a lot of freedom to define their own union how they saw fit. The first thing to go? The historic coverture laws that originated today's commonplace tradition of a woman relinquishing a part of her identity, her name, and assuming her husband's.

"We are a family, and we share every part of our lives with each other, and we also desired to share a name," Blair says. "So we got creative and here we are — a nontraditionally created name for a 'nontraditional' marriage."

3. Sally and Ryan Stauffer = the Elainskas

Photo via Sally Elainska, used with permission

When these two first got married, they did what Sally calls "the normal thing," and went with her husband's last name of Stauffer. A few years later, Ryan had a confession to make — he wished they'd gone another route.

"In the end we decided to combine Gaelic to represent his ancestry and Polish to represent mine," Sally says. They chose words that loosely translated to "people of art," plus a few tweaks to make it easy to spell and pronounce, and suddenly they were the Elainskas.

Their families have had mixed reactions, Sally says, but there's only one thing that really matters: "I couldn't be happier with the decision and with my perfect partner!"

4. Sonia Abrams + Stephen Moss = the Abramoss kids

Photo via Sonia Abrams, used with permission.

When these two tied the knot, they both agreed it'd be best to keep their own last names. The kids? That was a different story.

"We both felt a little weird about not having a little bit of [both] our names in our kid," Sonia says. That's when they got the idea to combine, and Abramoss just felt like a winning combination.

"My dad did not like it at all, but I think he got over it," she says. "It feels neat to have our kid's' names be a combo of ours, since our kids are a perfect combo of the two of us."

5. Sara Kunitake + Jonah Horowitz = the Horotakes

Photo from Jonah Horotake, used with permission.

"Sara has a very strong attachment to her family name. She’s the last Kunitake grandchild, and she hesitated to give the name up," Jonah says. "Also, she has invested a lot in building her brand professionally as Sara Kunitake and didn’t want to have to rebuild as Sara Horowitz."

So they merged to become the Horotakes. "We really like the sound of it and it merges our Japanese and Jewish heritage."

6. Jesse Rauch + Lissa McManus = the McRauchs

Photo via Jesse McRauch, used with permission.

Feminism has been an important thread throughout Jesse and Lissa's relationship.

"As our relationship deepened, I felt it was important to be completely equal in our relationship," Jesse says. "We both wear engagement rings. I didn't get on one knee — so we looked each other in the eye."

Jesse says most people are really supportive, or even jealous they didn't think of it, but his parents keep asking, 'Are you really doing that?"

"They may need more time," he says.

7. Ash Russell + Crystal Fields = the Rocketships

Photo from Ash Rocketship, used with permission

That's right. Meet Mrs. and Mrs. Rocketship.

Ash says the couple talked a lot about "how neither of us were really attached to our family names and how it would be nice to share a name once we were married."

Her alternative? Pick something random, but meaningful. It got the couple talking about their shared love of outer space.

"We joked about Lightyear, after Buzz, and then one of us — probably me because I am nothing if not overjoyed at being obnoxious — said, 'We should just pick something random ... like, rocketship.' And it just stuck."

From there, the paperwork was a breeze, and the Rocketships became the coolest family in the solar system.

Update 8/23/2017: One couple has been removed from this list.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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