Yes, it's kind of a stretch. Philomena and Pippa have little to do with each other. But that doesn't much matter. There are plenty of nicknames out there that have taken a long journey from the original given name (like Polly for Mary or Peggy for Margaret). And regardless of tradition, you can use whatever nickname you like.
–Call Me Kaarle, Maybe?
Kaarle is the Finnish form of the familiar boys' name Charles, and it's pronounced as two syllables: Karl with a slight "uh" at the end. So my guess is it would be taken for Carla, rather than Carly. But that doesn't resolve any "Is he a she" doubts. Seeing it in writing might help—but then again, the girl's name Carly can be spelled in dozens of ways, so why not "Kaarle"?
Every girl’s name? Wow, that must have been a very unpleasant (or illuminating?) conversation! I'm sorry that Grandpa's checkered history seems to have tanked some of your favorite names. That has to hurt, and you're right that your baby has nothing to do with these past scandals.
Reinhold "Reince" Priebus is the chairman of the Republican party. Prince Rebus sounds more like the champion of a word-puzzle party. What makes you see one as the other? Maybe it's that the name Reince Priebus itself is a word puzzle.
–Awaiting Baby Kate?
I do suspect that a young Kate will be called Katie a lot. With no other obvious choice for a nickname, people will jump to the well-known Katie without even thinking about it.
As with other dilemmas like this one, the issue becomes: How much will this bother you? With family and friends—people who see your daughter a lot—you can politely insist on Kate-not-Katie. They'll eventually get the message and stick with Kate (unless they’re deliberately trying to be obstinate).
Yes, I'd definitely notice the similarity, and call these names too close for comfort. As you mention, they actually don't share many letters in common, which makes them look distinct when written down. But the similar sound is more than enough to trip everyone up and cause confusion, especially since you're not trying to name your daughter after her mom.
–Author in a Crisis
As I've often said, style is in the eye of the beholder. So the Name Lady is not here to give you a thumbs-up or down on what name is right for your baby—real or literary. But what I can do is help you zero in on that just-right name on your own. The first step is to dig deeper on your initial choice, Holly, to see what qualities in it appeal to you. Then, we can find other names that share those qualities.
So we ended up calling her by her first name—which I hate! It sounds horrible just saying it, but I don't like it. My daughter just turned one. Would it be okay to change her name now? We have a name we both like. I feel silly even considering it, but I'm so in love with this new name.
Since your daughter is a year old, this is borderline territory for a name change. She is too old for you to just switch the name casually, but she is too young to be involved in the decision. However, since you have such a powerfully negative reaction to her current name, it might be healthier to go ahead and make the change.
–Able to Use Abel?
I'm not sure who started the idea that a pattern of three two-syllable names is a problem, but I don't think it is. Like so many "rules" of naming, it is a preference that somehow grew into a prohibition.
Hundreds of girls every year are given names like Campbell and Elliott, and we've all heard of starbaby girls named Wyatt and James. So a girl could certainly "pull off" McKade. The "McK" lead-in may have started out as a surname-influenced masculine name style, but these days it's used almost exclusively for girls: McKenzie and McKenna, as you mentioned, but also McKayla and McKinley, plus spelling variations of these, are all girl today—and all quite popular.