Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest Post: Introducing SPACIOUS

Especially in light of the recent hardship to hit the DC area, I'm proud to share with something incredible that's come from our region. SPACIOUS is an inspired collaboration between Joey Katona (a former-coworker friend of mine) and the lovely and vibrant, Cary Umhau, who's my honored guest today. Their organization is all about unexpected meetings that turn out fabulous, so I had a lot of fun making some uniquely sweet and tangy red velvet pomegranate cupcakes for its custom flavor. Please give some love to the newest addition to the 6 Bittersweets Menu and to Cary as she shares the story of SPACIOUS as well as our cupcake collaboration!

Cary Umhau (SPACIOUS Founder and Creative Director)
Photography by Julie Wan
Xiaolu has a gift for putting together unusual flavors in her cupcakes, and that’s why I asked her to create a custom flavor for my social venture, SPACIOUS, after we’d ordered and enjoyed her wares at a couple of our events.

I thought it’d be fun to write about how I see her creativity as a damn tasty metaphor for what we do. I’m excited to be a guest-blogger here at 6 Bittersweets.

SPACIOUS is the brainchild of two people who – on the surface – couldn’t be more different. Joey Katona and I run it together, and although I’d dreamed about it for years, it came together only after Joey and I became close. We have a friendship that began online and grew in person. We found that in spite of a 28-year age gap, different faiths, genders, lifestyles and cultural backgrounds, we share many points of resonance and love doing things together. In a world where people generally stick to their own demographic, our unorthodox friendship enlarges both of us, and we see a rich opportunity to bring together different worlds to create a better one through what we’re doing together.

Joey Katona (SPACIOUS Co-Founder and Cultural Catalyst) with 6 Bittersweets mini cupcakes at the
"Bring or Be Your Own Kid" adult recess event this spring
We create custom events that are fun and facilitated for deeper connections so that people can meet others they might not meet while doing something they might not do. Examples of our events have been BYOK (“Bring or Be Your Own Kid,” an adult recess with pie-throwing), Everyday Improv, a Blank Canvas Day where we created art as we did in childhood, field trips to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and to a racism exhibit at Smithsonian Natural History, and a walkabout in Central Park with a location-specific app created by Bluebrain, an ingenious brother duo, to name a few.

I also consult so that businesses and organizations can have more fun, creativity, generosity and connectedness in their programming and staff dynamics.

There’s such a trend these days of sticking to those people we already agree with, of only socializing with people like ourselves. Yet so much happens when we hear new perspectives, consider others’ experiences, and contemplate the fact that there’s more to a person than the external cues would tell us.

So although chocolate loves vanilla frosting, and carrot cake generally sticks with cream cheese frosting, and lemon seeks meringue, our SPACIOUS flavor is red velvet with a surprise pomegranate filling, topped with Swiss buttercream.

And Xiaolu created it, knowing that Joey and I are as different as can be, but that we love hanging out together and with others with the knowledge that people who might not seem like they’d enjoy each other really will find resonance, given the right facilitation and atmosphere. And then great things will happen as barriers fall and people connect.

Subscribe to our site for weekly updates. Come join us at an event. Or order some of these cupcakes!


  1. fabulous news! I wish I could taste some!

    1. Come to one of our events, and we'll treat you!

  2. Very interesting. Wonderful news!



  3. Those cupcakes look and sound delicious!

  4. Very impressive! I love the name that she chose and I really liked the description in comparing herself and Joey. Well written. Xiaolu, thanks again for always championing your colleagues. That's one of the things that I absolutely love about you. I hope you are enjoying your summer.

    1. Isn't she the best about that? Thanks, Amee! Hope you'll join us as a SPACIOUS subscriber and shake things up a bit with us.


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu